Mind Over Sports

“CODE RED” EXISTS AMONG SOME NFL FOOTBALL TEAMS AND IT OFTEN TAKES THE FORM OF BULLYING.

Posted on: November 6, 2013

“Code Red” is a term popularized by the film “A Few Good Men.” In the NFL, specifically the Miami Dolphins, it took the form of hazing (bullying) while team coaches looked the other way.

For those of you who follow my column, you might remember that in November 2011 I recommended that all hazing be discontinued by the NFL. Coaches and team owners, I wrote at the time, should insist that hazing become a thing of the past. These are not young college students; they are mature men playing a violent game and a great deal is at stake in their lives.

Here’s the latest example, as reported on the Internet:

Miami Dolphins’ Richie Incognito’s harassment of teammate Jonathan Martin included text messages that were racist and threatening, two people familiar with the situation have said. The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Martin, a second-year pro who graduated from Stanford, is biracial. Incognito, a guard in his ninth NFL season, is white. The 30-year old Incognito has been suspended from the team and the case not only leaves his career in doubt, but an associate professor at the University of Miami School of Law said he could face criminal charges since there’s an indication that some form of extortion was involved.

I believe one of the reasons the Kansas City Chiefs were off to such a slow start during the 2011 season, and played so poorly, was the result of a locker room fight that broke out during preseason between two team members, and it affected team chemistry. The fist fight, according to unnamed sources, was a result of Dwayne Bowe hazing rookie Jon Baldwin. Baldwin would have none of it resulting in a confrontation between the two players. Baldwin fractured his right thumb and because it was in a cast, was unable to play when the season started. There are ways to build team chemistry other than hazing, and in this case, the hazing had the opposite effect for which it was intended.

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