Just Play, don’t Bully

Written by Breanna Johnson. Media by Fallyn Paruleski.

Everyone knows about kids getting bullied, but what about the grown men in the NFL? Rookies in football are often subjected to hazing and mistreatment from veteran football players, and almost nothing is being said or done about it. In fact, it’s become the norm to pick on the new guys–it’s just a tradition in the NFL, the ways things are. Some football players like Richie Incognito, who plays for the Dolphins, have a history of bullying and are pretty relentless when it comes to putting fear in others. Incognito has been dropped from team to team due to his bad behavior and the Dolphins still welcomed him with opened arms just because he could play football. Slate.com says he has harrassed rookie teammate Jonathan Martin, leaving racists voicemails and texting him nasty things, but the team blames Martin’s “emotional problems” instead of disciplining Incognito for his actions.

Incognito and Martin. Image from http://simmqb.files.wordpress.com.
Incognito and Martin. Image from http://simmqb.files.wordpress.com.

The teams and the coaches don’t realize that this is a serious problem. Bullying Martin is nothing new for Incognito. Last August, Incognito reportedly punched a security guard, in the past he has threatened to break his opponent’s ankles, and has headbutted players on the field. It’s clear that this football player has serious issues, which is why the league needs to stop ignoring his antics and dismissing it as just a ritual and not a big deal. Even players who were targeted when they first started make excuses for the way things are; According to Slate.com, Cowboy’s Dez Bryant feels it’s not a big deal what the old guys put the new guys through, even though when he was a rookie his team made him pay a $54,896 tab! Although his teammates may have not physically threatened him, surely they used some sort of intimidation to get him to pay that ridiculous amount of money. But, even if Bryant is okay with being pushed around, it doesn’t mean all rookies are. The NFL needs to do a better job of monitoring their teams and making sure everyone is well on and off the field.


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