A Bullying Culture: The NFL and Richie Incognito

7 Nov

“I never saw any of the signs.” “I thought they were close.” “I’ve never heard him speak THAT way in public.” “But…he is such a nice guy.” These are common things for people to say after learning of domestic violence and or bullying. And we shouldn’t be surprised.

Rarely do bullies walk up to their victim in public and shout racial epithets at them. Bullies are too clever and too cowardly to do that. They care about their reputation to much to do that. They’re to selfish to act in such an outward way that they’d actually have witnesses to their bad behavior.

It is sad, but unsurprising to me to see so many Miami Dolphins players coming out to support Richie Incognito. Incognito just became famous for being revealed to be a tyrant to a young man named Jonathan Martin, a teammate of his on the Dolphins.

Today, the “leader” of the team, Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said: “If you had asked Jonathan Martin a week before, who his best friend on this team was, he would have said Richie Incognito.” Later, Tannehill stated “All I know about Richie is that he’s a great teammate to me…”

A couple things:

1. Tannehill only knows what he observed in public. Bullies are too smart to do what they do in public. They save their venom for their victims in private moments. Why? No witnesses.

2. Tannehill is at best, naive, for stating that Incognito was a great teammate to him. Great teammates don’t leave hate-filled voicemails for another of their teammates. Cancer does that. Incognito was a cancer to the team, and they should be thrillled he’s gone.

We all need to open our eyes. If YOU were being bullied by a co-worker or a teammate…what would YOU want someone else to do? I know that I’d want to be believed and that I would want others to stand up for me.

I choose today to stand with the oppressed. I choose today to open my eyes to the plight of the downtrodden and the silenced. I choose today to never bully another person. I choose today to believe victims, and to help them get back their voices. I choose today to pray for victims and abusers, alike. We all need grace.




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