There is an opportunity for education with both Dolphins players, Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, and not only the outcome, but also how we communicate about this will undoubtedly set a precedence.
Miami, FL (PRWEB) November 05, 2013
The Miami Dolphins have found themselves in the spotlight due to allegations of bullying on their team, according to an article published by the Miami Herald on November 2, 2013. October was National Bullying Prevention Month and two community partners have joined forces to offer solutions to entire team based on education and communication.
There is an opportunity for education with both Dolphins players, Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, and not only the outcome, but also how we communicate about this will undoubtedly set a precedence. This is a unique opportunity for South Florida to once again be a leader in bullying prevention practices. NVEEE is successful in bringing solutions based on communication and prevention through education. We work closely with YES Institute who worked with Tim Hardaway, following his comments about gay athletes, that led to a major public reaction. Tim came to YES Institute and gained tools to have powerful conversations, and a new way to think about gender and orientation. Through communication and education, Tim had the opportunity to observe what he inherited around gender and orientation -- and shift his way of thinking and actions around this topic to create a broader understanding for his community. He is a leader on these topics in Miami, and through the Tim Hardaway Foundation, works to prevent bullying and empower youth to be themselves.
“We don’t know what truly happened because we were not present” acknowledged Jowharah Sanders, Founder and Executive Director of NVEEE. “Just the accusation of the alleged bullying between Mr. Martin and Mr. Incognito makes it equivalent to what’s happening in classrooms, on sports teams, or to any child in America who lives with, or is a witness to bullying - just on a larger scale. In every bullying situation, there is a bullier, a target and then there are the bystanders. Bystanders play an important role because statistically when a bystander steps in, the bullying stops within 10 seconds. When we educate and empower everyone, especially bystanders, we will see a real shift in bullying, and that includes the kind that happens on the playing field.”
There is no coincidence that included in NVEEE’s Bullying Prevention Program is a lesson on bullying in sports. A picture of two 11-yr-old boys, Jaheem Herrera and Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, are shown side-by-side. Jaheem is dressed in regular clothes while Carl is dressed in his football uniform. When students of all ages (even adults) are asked which person is most likely to be a target of bullying, they unanimously agree that the Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover (the football player) would never be bullied because he plays football and must be popular. It comes as shock to all audiences that both students committed suicide as a direct result of being bullied. This is one of the myths we address. No matter how big or small, short or tall, anyone can be a target.
In this particular situation with the Miami Dolphins, statements, comments, and articles suggest that the vast majority of people are focused on “who’s right”, “who’s wrong,” and the “proper punishment.” However, NVEEE and the YES Institute believe the solution comes down to how we communicate first, and then education. If addressed properly we can shift this situation for every kid in America. Just as we have policies in the school systems, it’s important to note that policies are only one way to set the tone. The focus needs to shift to transforming the entire culture around bullying and how we as a people treat one another.
"Creating lasting solutions requires everyone to participate and be a part of the conversation - those who are teased and humiliated, and those who have tormented them. If we can become knowledgeable about the source of the violence, bullying and harassment, then we can become effective agents of change in reshaping our environments and relationships, rather than merely reacting to the symptoms” said Rachel Sottile Logvin, M.S., Executive Director, YES Institute. “Communication and education are not the easy answers that people want; not the quick answers our outrage and reactions seek; but, it is the effective solution to shift not only Incognito and Martin, but shift the future for all of the young people who love and admire them.
"Richie Incognito will be punished if not by the Dolphins, then by ostracism in the court of public opinion. Jonathan Martin will be a target too. “Can a grown man, a professional athlete really be bullied?” People will accuse, and people will defend. “Everyone does that. That’s what it is to be a professional athlete.” Punishment will happen, but nothing will change.
"If we stop and think about our construct of what it is to be a man in our society, the messages we inherit, we can begin to examine the source of much of the violence, bullying and harassment, demonstrated not only in professional sports, but on our fields, on our courts and in our schools -- powerfully impacting all of our children across this country.
"If we can become knowledgeable about the underpinnings of the masculinity construct, then we can become effective agents of change in reshaping the experiences of young males and men, rather than merely reacting to the symptoms of a deeper concern."
National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment (NVEEE) is a community-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to prevent bullying, violence, and suicide among youth, families and communities through direct service, mentoring and prevention education.
NVEEE’s “Not On My Watch” Bullying & Harassment Prevention Program teaches students social skills, model specific actions, and demonstrate ways of being and behaving that can empower students to reduce peer-harassment, as well as self-harm. Our signature program serves as a catalyst to support peer-led intervention to alter school cultures around bullying.
About YES Institute
To prevent suicide and ensure the healthy development of all youth through powerful communication and education on gender and orientation.