Bullying is one of the most discussed topics of today, and it is also one of the most
common and disruptive behaviors plaguing our schools.
However, bullying does take place beyond the schoolyard. Now, the NFL is tackling
this problem. When you are a part of the world of professional sports, you expect your
team to be like your family. Yet, this was not the case when Miami Dolphins guard
Richie Incognito, spouted racial slurs at former teammate Jonathan Martin.
Although Incognito is Caucasian, Dolphin team members deemed him an “honorary
black man,” and Martin is biracial.
I believe that Incognito’s actions went beyond bullying. Racism is unethical.
Therefore, Incognito displayed unethical behavior on the job. He should not have used
bullying tactics and racial-fueled commentary against his teammate.
In high school, I had a friend that said, “[My] football team is my family, and my
teammates are my brothers.”
Teammates should respect and stand behind one another every step of the way. This
is the essence of a “team.” Incognito’s actions were extremely deplorable and disagreed
with the idea of unity among teammates.
In the case of Incognito and Martin, racism, or racial slurs, was a form of bullying.
Essentially, an individual was mocked and became uncomfortable in their environment.
People should treat one another with respect, even in the locker room. Nothing
makes one human being more superior than the other; skin color or ethnic background
should not matter.
It is as the adage says, “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.”
Incognito was out of bounds. When a person uses hateful words and/or directs them
at someone it can – and often does – damage that person’s psyche and sense of self.
Mocking and ridicule may seem like a joke to some, but the victims of these actions
are profoundly affected.
Furthermore, professional athletes are like businessmen and women in that they need
to establish a positive reputation and strive to uphold it. In each case, these individuals
must represent their companies or organizations, perform well daily and remain ethical in
their fields of work.
In the sports world, there are serious consequences for players who do not meet these
criteria. Incognito has already been dismissed from two teams, the St. Louis Rams and
the Buffalo Bills, for dissatisfactory conduct and once was named the NFL’s dirtiest
No, Incognito is not the only athlete who has engaged in this type of behavior, but an
example is being made out of him.
The NFL has yet to announce the punishment that will be dealt to Incognito. As of
now, Martin is being treated for emotional distress, and the Miami Dolphins have
suspended Incognito, pending further investigation into the case.