SPECIAL THANKS to Ginger Agunzo for the inspiration and contribution to this!
Jonathan Martin, a second-year offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins, left the team last week amid allegations of bullying and racist and threatening emails from Richie Incognito, a ninth-year offensive guard. ~ USA Today
The Miami Dolphins aren’t the only ones with a bullying problem, the entire country has one. Why? Because, across all levels of our society, there is clearly a lack of responsibility and understanding when it comes to bullying, its effects, and how to prevent it.
To a Fault
There are many parents who will defend their kids, even though they are clearly guilty of being bullies. Coaches and teachers are too cautious when handling any type of disciplinary action. Just listen to how reactions in the NFL vary from accepting the behavior to complete dismissal of any wrongdoing. All of this leaves us with a nation that lacks accountability when it comes to bullying.
We are all responsible, including those who do nothing about it. Children may not know better, but parents, teachers, students, coaches, friends, and family should. The bully is hurting and acting out, seeking attention; as a result, the victim suffers. They both need our help.
When people don’t like themselves very much, they have to make up for it. The classic bully was actually a victim first.
~ Tom Hiddleston
In grade school, I was a scrawny kid. Then, to make matters worse, in the 4th grade I had to get glasses. Can you guess what I was called? Yep, four eyes! Luckily I had established some great friendships by then, so I won’t say I was bullied to a great extent, but I certainly understand what feeling insecure or self-conscious is like.
In fact, it’s only in recent years that I’ve embraced wearing my now-trendy glasses in public. But the stigma of being “a nerd” stung me for a long time.
I have noticed that many say that, since Miami Dolphins player Jonathan Martin is a big boy, he should have “manned up” and fought teammate Richie Incognito. If that’s what some people think, they they have no idea what being a man is, nor do they understand bullying.
To me, I definitely stand in the corner of wanting to give voice to the bullied, and not the bully. ~ Mike White
Being told to “be a man” is part of the problem. If you complain that someone is picking on you or bullying you, you’re often thought of as a tattletale or a cry baby, and asking for help becomes something to be ashamed of. No–shame on those who allow this to happen!
When you’re bullied, you don’t man up, you shut down because you feel bad about yourself or you’re afraid of retaliation. And once bullies see that you won’t defend yourself, you can become their main target. Bullies are often cowards–insecure themselves–and would never continue to pick on someone who stood up to them. The victim becomes “afraid” of the bully, and might even fear for their life. It’s that serious.
Don’t believe it? Watch this video:
I had my bully, and it was excruciating. Not only the bully, but the intimidation I felt.
~ Robert Cormier
The Cowardly Dolphin?
“I think Jonathan Martin is a weak person” said one personnel man, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “If Incognito did offend him racially, that’s something you have to handle as a man!”
First of all, the coward who said this won’t let anyone know who he is, so he can make this statement without accountability. Secondly, if you were a child being bullied at school, and you happened to read the statement above, how might it affect you? I’d say it would either make you feel bad about yourself, or encourage you to get into a fight that you may not be capable of winning. Great advice, Mister Anonymous!
Let’s not forget in all of this that the bully needs help also, due to the experiences that led them to becoming a bully. The bullying needs to be addressed as soon as possible before it inflicts psychological damage, or worse, on others. Everyone needs to take responsibility and show compassion. It impacts all of us.
Everyone in America likely has a bullying story, whether as the victim, bully or as a witness. ~ Michael M. Honda
Bullying is not limited to the schoolyard or professional sports. It can even happen in the workplace where, for some reason, so-called “adults” feel the need to pick on someone else with the intention of making that person’s life miserable.
They might even form cliques or groups, spread rumors, or gang up on one person. This kind of adolescent behavior is usually seen in high school. The truth is, these bullies are insecure–or even miserable–themselves. Why else would they want to make others unhappy or feel inferior? Does hurting others return pleasure? The odd thing is that it takes other bullies for this to happen, as misery loves company. Emotionally healthy people don’t allow or take part in this type of behavior.
Rather than creating victims, we should strive to create victors.
Bullying is not okay, period.
~ Jim C. Hines
Rock Star Life Coach & Sales Strategist