I think we can all agree that football is one of the most physically grueling professions in the entire world. Players are paid millions of dollars to put targets on their opponents backs and crush them like pesky flies flying over your dinner. Even practice calls for teammates to put aside their common bond of playing for the same team to crush one another while preparing for the gridiron war that takes place every sunday. Because of the sports physicality and brut-ness, finding NFL players being bullied is almost as tough as that overused cliche about a needle in a haystack.
The Miami Dolphins just found that needle not in a haystack, but in their locker room. The dolphins suspended guard Richie Incognito after his teammate, Jonathan Martin left the team last week because of emotional issues caused by the bullying of Richie Incognito. Bullying has been a hot topic in popular culture over the past few years. Numerous entertainers including some athletes have taken a stand against bullying, starring in commercials and PSA’s to bring awareness to people affected by it’s ugliness. But this is the first time in NFL history, that a player has accused his own teammate of bullying. By now you should be asking yourself, how in the world does a 300 pound NFL lineman get bullied? The better question you should ask yourself is how will this change the NFL. Well, let me be the first to tell you, the NFL will never be the same.
In a sport where bullies on the field get celebrated and treated like gods, a certain edge is needed to remain the big dog or head honcho. Now, with the Miami Dolphins bullying allegations the NFL will have to do some serious policy changes to ensure this will never happen again. Hazing has been a popular tradition in NFL locker rooms all over the country. Rookies come to camp expecting to be tapped to goal posts, or get outrageous haircuts, or have to sing embarrassing songs for the whole team. This tradition will soon have to come to screeching halt. The NFL will likely have to ban hazing from all locker rooms. NFL teams might also have to keep a better eye on their players and their locker rooms. Imagine owners issuing team cell phones in order to keep the records of calls and texts just in case something like Incognito happens again. Or don’t be surprised if Roger Goodell creates guidelines around players lending other players money. Will they have to show the league receipts? Also does Goodell force the players association to have mandatory bully classes, to keep the appearance of a healthy locker room and team? I’m not sure what is to come from this Incognito bullying tirade, but I do know that one player has single handedly forced Roger Goodell to make some serious rule changes, and don’t be surprised if they are changed before the end of the year. NFL football will never be the same, and neither will the NFL locker room.
words by: @blogzworth