Tackling Bullying in Sports
Jonathan Martin’s Experience is a Wake-Up Call
TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2013 – Jonathan Martin’s decision to quit the Miami Dolphins over bullying has touched a nerve, spilling over beyond the Sports section into a larger conversation about adult bullying. It’s shocking on a number of levels.
“This is not who we think of as the typical target for bullying,” says bullying prevention specialist Lorna Blumen, author of Bullying Epidemic: Not Just Child’s Play. “This is a 300-pound lineman and bullying is equally hurtful to a strong, capable adult.”
Martin’s teammate Richie Incognito allegedly taunted Martin, leaving him racist voicemails and threatening texts. Martin reports sitting down to lunch with his teammates and in response, they got up and left, shunning him.
“We see this behavior from middle school kids,” says Blumen. “Frankly, it’s disheartening to see adults behave this way.”
Blumen adds that this kind of bullying damages team cohesion. Sports teams should be pulling together and inspiring cooperation, not hazing new teammates. “It’s shocking that management or players would tolerate this.”
It’s time to tackle bullying in sports, in all its forms – verbal, physical and relational.
Lorna Blumen is a bullying prevention specialist and speaker in Toronto, Canada. Author of Bullying Epidemic: Not Just Child’s Play, she advises on school, workplace and sports bullying. Lorna has appeared on local and national TV & radio, speaking on bullying issues.
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