An incident occurred in the National Football League last week that, along with some of the reactions to it, should give pause to the culture around sports and its star athletes, from the kiddie leagues all the way up to the pros. Jonathan Martin, a player for the Miami Dolphins, left the team after an incident in the cafeteria. It appears from the most recent reports that he has been the target of harassment and bullying by his teammates since the beginning of training camp.
Watching the NFL Network on Sunday morning, I was shocked to hear Marshall Faulk, a former pro running back, say this in response: “Excuse my ignorance. I just didn’t think adults could be bullied by another adult — right? I just felt like that was a kid thing.” Faulk and his cohosts continued to discuss how pranks and jokes are common in locker rooms and that everyone needs to have a thick skin when they enter.
I think this speaks volumes to the machismo endemic in male athletes and male-dominated sports at all levels, and also to the ignorance and denial regarding the bullying that pervades all levels of society today. Bullying anyone is wrong, period.
DOUGLAS BROAD, St. Louis Park