There’s no doubt that to play in the NFL you’ve got to be tough. But as the recent bullying case involving Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins shows, all the physical strength in the world can’t protect people from the torment of bullies.
The bully/victim stereotype is of a bigger, stronger child picking on a smaller, weaker child who may be younger than the bully. And while that size and strength disparity may be true for many bullying incidents, it surely doesn’t hold true in all cases.
Perhaps that’s part of why people are so shocked by the news that bullying was enough to drive Jonathan Martin to quit playing for the Dolphins. At 6′ 5″ and weighing in at 312lbs, Martin doesn’t fit into our preconceived notion of a bully victim which causes people to be taken back at the thought of this happening to such a person.
Skills that should be universal
But the fact that bullying can – and does – affect those we don’t typically think of as victims means that everyone should know how to prevent and control bullying.
In a recent interview, bully expert Dave Young points out “Bullying happens everywhere,” and not just to the small kid with glasses. You can see the story here:
Everyone should know how to:
- project confidence
- create and use deflectors
- address the situation before it gets out of control
- speak up for themselves and others
The need for change
If you or your child is being bullied, you’re not alone. Anyone can become the victim of a bully and should learn the skills needed to lower their chances of a bullying encounter. As a society, we are doing ourselves a disservice by not addressing the full scope of the issue.
Schools, companies, government agencies and individuals need to have the tools in place to address bullying because as the case in Miami so clearly demonstrates – it can happen to anyone.