The Miami Dolphins’ locker room is being exposed for the hotbed of harassment, bullying and abuse that it was allowed to become. I’ll be writing about different aspects of the situation during the next week.
Today, the two questions asked most. Is an NFL locker room a different environment than other places – at work, at home, at school? Is this sort of bullying new? The answer is, unequivocally, “No!”
- Is an NFL locker room unique and different from any other business, family or school?
One approach to answering this question would be to examine the locker rooms of every other team in the league or to ask if the winners of the last 20 Super Bowls had locker rooms in which this behavior was tolerated. The answer given by players and coaches has been unequivocally, “No! The bullying in the locker room was despicable.” Great coaches don’t even tolerate hazing as a way of creating the bonds necessary to play together well in a game.
Another approach is to examine the behavior that I see in the rest of the world. Although the violence on an NFL field is different from most workplaces, the techniques used by a bully in the locker room and the lack of defensive skills on the part of his target are no different from those in any company I consult for, any family I coach or any school situation I work with.
The idea that 300 pound guys in a violent business will automatically behave that way or even need to behave that way in order to get their jobs done is nonsense.
The key factor in the Miami Dolphins organization, like in many businesses, families and schools, is that the bully’s behavior was tolerated or even encouraged. They allowed or enabled the locker room to become a hostile workplace.
- Is this bullying and predatory behavior new?
Again, the answer is, unequivocally, “No.” From around the world, in every culture, the earliest oral and written epics revolve around bullying, terror and predators. Bullying and abuse are nothing new in human behavior. Many humans behave that way. We have to be taught to behave better.
Bullying as a tactic to getting on in life is nothing new for Richie Incognito. Incognito has a long rap sheet going back at least to his college days, when he was thrown out of some schools for his behavior. Like typical bullies, Incognito continues to bully people because he’s never been stopped with any consequences that matter to him. He’s been able to bounce around through college and the NFL, earning his millions, and thinking he doesn’t have to stop.
In addition, when a light was shined on his behavior towards Jonathan Martin, Richie Incognito presented the typical excuses, justifications and rationalizations that bullies and predators use – that’s his personality, he was just kidding, he didn’t know that Martin minded, Martin is being too sensitive.
Jonathan Martin was not bullied because he was different. Relentless predators like Richie Incognito attack their prey because they are predators. Then they find excuses to justify their bullying. Also, they pretend ignorance of the pain and damage they cause. Typically, predators pursue prey who don’t or can’t defend themselves.
With bullying and terrorizing like this, there is no fine line. There is a Grand Canyon. The only fine line is on one side of the canyon, at the edge of a cliff about some hazing or some of the expenses asked of rookies in some locker rooms. But the vicious, despicable language, the threats against Martin’s mother, his sister and himself, the terror struck into Mr. Martin’s heart and the actions against Martin by Richie Incognito are far across that canyon.
Bullies have no place in NFL locker rooms, companies, families or schools.
The best way to stop bullying at work, in your family or at schools is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and consulting so you can:
- Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
- Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the bully-free life your spirit has always hungered for.
Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert coaching by phone or Skype.