Addressing Teammate Bullying

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By: Matt Galka
November 5, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - However violent football may be, and yes it is very violent-- the core values of the game are supposed to include things like discipline, perseverance, and team work. The game shouldn't include bullying.

"We try to make sure our guys understand from the get-go what we want them to do, we talk about family we talk about having each others' back," said Chiles High School football coach Mike Lassiter.

Lassiter says that their are systems in place to address bullying on the team if it happens. But he says that every coach's goal is to instill in their players as underclassmen that bullying is not okay when they get older.

"If you're a good example as a junior or a senior upperclassmen, those guys learn how to act, but also they know what it was like to be there (as a freshman). But we want them to leave a legacy of what 'team' is down the line," said Lassiter.

One of his senior wide receivers echoed the statement.

"Teammates are just like family, you shouldn't be bullying them or anything like that, so it's like any other sport, it's zero tolerance around here, we don't allow that," said Juan Williams.

The NFL is investigating claims Richie Incognito made racial and threatening remarks to rookie teammate Jonathan Martin. Incognito has been suspended indefinitely and Martin has left the team.

Florida state Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda says this is an example of why bullying has to be addressed during formative years.

"We have got to teach young people number 1 that bullying is cruel. It's cruel, it affects the dignity of another human being, and on another hand we have to help students and young people be resilient to the bullying," said Rep. Vasilinda

Vasilinda is hosting a anti-bullying round table on November 6th at the Old Capitol. She says the NFL issue will be addressed.


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