I'll begin by saying this is my first fanpost. I have been a member of AP for a while now, comment here and there and usually subsequently get labeled a homer. That's fine, I'll take that. But that's not what I wanted to write about today. This isn't directly about the Chiefs, the NFL, the Broncos, whether Alex Smith is a good quarterback or not...none of that. I wanted to write about an bigger issue, that coincidentally has been brought to the stage by the NFL in recent weeks; bullying.
What has fueled my disgust about the subject is listening to 810 radio, specifically Kevin Kietzman's "Between the Lines" radio show. While Kietzman has been my main source of these thoughts that I will discuss one by one, I'm beginning to see the same views across the social media world, and I just wanted to give some insight from someone who was bullied.
Thought #1: "There are worse things that are happening than somebody calling somebody names...why is the media blowing this up?"
Sure there are worse things in the world...murder, rape, cancer, terrorism, hunger, homelessness...etc, etc, etc., but that doesn't make this issue any less important. The fact of the matter is that bullying is a huge problem in our society and has been for a very long time, and it always gets pushed to the wayside until a young kid or teen commits suicide or lashes out at someone else. After something like that happens nowadays, we spread it on social media, we like the facebook page and it's important to us for 3 seconds and we forget about it until the next suicide. I think it's absolutely amazing that the media is blowing this thing up. Bullys across the country are watching ESPN and thinking "Wow, they're making this guy look like an idiot, maybe it's not the cool thing to do" and they bullied are thinking "Even NFL players are subject to this." Maybe that's the intention of the national media, or maybe it's an unintended consequence, nontheless, I can almost guarantee that those thoughts are running through the minds of kids watching this story.
Thought #2: "Everyone gets bullied at some point in their lifetime, it's just a part of life"
Nope. Most everyone gets picked on at some point in their lives, but bullied? Bullying is a day in and day out kind of thing. People that are bullied don't want to go to school, or even work because they are so scared of what is going to happen on any given day. What is John going to do to me today? What is Jeff going to say to me today? Mr. Kietzman likes to use the example of him trying to interview (insert name here) in KCI. The dude was on crutches and hit him with one of them. "Isn't that worse!?", he exclaims. That's one instance. Don't try to make everyone feel sorry for you because ONE time while you were probably annoying the crap out of someone, you got hit with a crutch and ALMOST fell down.
Thought #3: "Jonathan Martin should have stood up for himself and threw a punch."
This is ridiculous. We're going to place blame on Martin now for not throwing a punch? It sounds like this had been happening for a long time, and when it starts you usually brush it off, and then it gets worse and worse and your self esteem is so low that throwing a punch doesn't even cross your mind. Your self esteem is so low that you believe if you throw a punch the whole room will turn against you. Why are we blaming Martin for being the bigger man?
Thought #4: "This happens in all NFL locker rooms."
So what? That just means that there are more Jonathan Martins and more Richie Incognitos that are having some pretty interesting thoughts right about now. I'm curious to see if there are any others that are going to step forward with their bullying stories. I think that, similar to the Saints Bountygate scandal, the NFL is going to make a Incognito a poster boy for an anti-bullying campaign. Perfect.
There are so many things that I could get into a little more, but I feel like this is getting long and you probably get the idea by now. I hope the national media keeps blowing this thing up and keeps making Incognito look stupid, because they really can make a difference not only in the NFL but across the board in our society.
I'll leave you with a pretty cool video here.