The whirlwind swirling around the Miami Dolphins football team is not good.
While I am sure the situation is more complicated and more nuanced than what I see and read in the news, here is what seems to have taken place. One player has left the team because of the semi-racists taunts made by at least one other teammate. The teammate who has acknowledged the taunting has has been suspended for bullying. Coaches supposedly told the player who was suspended to “toughen up” the player who walked away. And, the head coach says he knew nothing at all about what was going on in the locker room.
It is bad enough that this has happened.
That one person has treated another person in this way.
That “toughening him up” meant bullying him.
That the head coach disavows any knowledge or responsibility for what happened.
But, what is more troubling are the remarks of those who try to justify it by saying that others don’t understand what it is like to play football or what goes on in a football locker room as a way to rationalize that type of behavior. Or, criticizing the teammate who chose to leave by saying something like “he was just not strong enough to handle it.”
Both of those comments are nonsense.
There is nothing manly about either bullying another person or being expected to just take the bullying. There is nothing strong about taunting or teasing or demeaning another person for whatever reason.
To think that something like that is acceptable on any level…
To think that something like that is normal in any situation or circumstance…
Is just plain wrong.
And, apart from what happened in that locker room, to in any way attempt to justify actions like this sends the wrong message to others. If professional athletes can act this way, would it be okay if our high school athletes acted this way?
Or, our middle school students?
Or, our children on the playground?
We need to grow up.
And, we need for other athletes in every other sport to stand up and to say…
This type of action…
This type of behavior…
Is just plain wrong.