The stunning and frightening text message exchanges between Miami Dolphins football players Richie Incognito and two of his teammates towards teammate Jonathan Martin and an assistant trainer is not only eye-opening and sobering, but they really underscore how pervasive bullying is in this country. And especially in sports.
If you haven’t read any of the thousands of text exchanges, you should. Just be forewarned – it is staggering stuff.
The only silver lining in this lose-lose situation is that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell can really put forth a strong statement and punishment not only to Cognito, but to any other NFL players who may feel tempted to bully a teammate. A long suspension and major fine are good to start…but why not add to it? Make Cognito write out a substantial and personal apology to Martin, explaining why what he did was wrong, and why this kind of stuff needs to be stopped.
Then, make Cognito into the NFL poster boy to spread the word to college, HS, and youth athletes about why bullying is wrong.
The truth is, we all know that bullying continues at all levels of sports, despite our best intentions to stop it. Now that we have an incident at the NFL level, let’s do what we can to make the most of this unfortunate situation so that the younger athletes can at least learn a positive lesson.
Here’s hoping that Goodell really helps eradicate this nonsense at all levels.