One might ask, what constitutes bullying, even in the NFL?
Jonathan Martin leaving the Miami Dolphins, alleging he had faced hazing and bullying form Ritchie Incognito has brought new attention to workplace bullying in a place known for over the top macho behavior.
The behaviors might be exaggerated compared to a more traditional workplace, but the results are the same.
The target, Jonathan Martin, was left in an inferior position. Tolerating the cursing, the tirades, abuse and ridicule became a condition of his work environment.
Typical of other workplace bullying issues, no one took it seriously until the target (Martin in this case) left his job.
Reactions of the players extend from fully supporting Martin for leaving, questioning Dolphin leadership, to considering Martin “soft” for putting up with it.
One player commented “He (Martin) should have just hit him (Incognito) in the mouth.” Unquestionably, the same back yard brawl style of dealing with bullies from grade school follows us to adult life. But in truth, violence and hitting don’t solve the problem if the bully wants to then take the role of victim and charge assault.
Does the question remain; can elite athletes be the target of bullying? Or should they just “man up “and take it? The same question is asked every day in less sensational careers. Should the target just suck it up and endure the abuse?
No! Whether in the NFL, the NCAA, or the PTA, no one should have to face abuse and ridicule as condition of keeping a job.
In the NFL, the culture claims it is just a tough place, abuse is par for the course. This is no different than professors abusing colleagues and claiming they have the right to do so because the culture of academic freedom allows it.
This is no different than being hazed to keep a position in a marching band, or to win approval from a combat unit. All of these behaviors create nonproductive environments, reduce the productivity of those in the environment, and can lead to messy legal battles if the target seeks legal counsel. In short, if the policies and processes of an organization don’t protect its employees, employees will seek policies outside the organization in the courts to find relief.
Read more posts by Leah Hollis, Ed.D. here. Leah is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.
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