Rite of passage doesn't make it right

Nov. 08, 2013 @ 04:31 AM

Over the week, national news has been flooded with reports out of Miami regarding an offensive lineman bullying a teammate, forcing that teammate to take a leave of absence.

The allegations range from foul language, threats and taunts.

Video and other reports have showed offensive guard Richie Incognito verbally and emotionally harassed tackle Jonathan Martin to the point where Martin no longer wanted to be in the same state as his taunting teammate.

The issue goes beyond the traditional bullying we have witnessed.

Reports from ESPN is that Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland responded to complaints from Martin by telling the second-year player out of Stanford to "respond to Incognito physically and specifically mentioned that he should 'punch' the veteran guard."

In the same report, Dolphins' players have suggested Martin should "stand up and be a man" and confront Incognito.

The reports continue to shock those in and out of the sports world.

Initially, the taunting was classified as a traditional rite of passage of veterans "breaking in" new players and building some kind of team unity.

To us, this could not be a worse approach.

Bullying has become more and more a part of our lexicon and staggeringly more and more prominent in our society.

Whether it be playground taunting in elementary schools to specific targeting of high school students by their peers, bullying is common practice among our youth today.

And here we have a professional athlete succumbing a teammate to the same kinds of activities that schools around the county hold a no tolerance policy for.

With the lack of action, it seems we are telling our children that it's okay to pick and prod their classmates to the point of dangerous circumstances.

After all, they see it perceived as being alright on television with professional athletes, why should children feel there is anything wrong with it in school?

Whether Incognito sees his actions as being nothing more than giving a teammate a hard time or fulfilling an age-old tradition with veterans and rookies, it doesn't make the actions acceptable.

The fact remains Martin felt he was bullied.

Sources have confirmed Incognito used foul language toward Martin and video evidence has backed that up.

There is no acceptable circumstance for bullying.

Even if it is a rite of passage for professional athletes.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Alex Moore, Tom Padgett and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark