The current news story about bullying incidents in the Miami Dolphins franchise has taken some extraordinary turns. At first there was disbelief, even derision, surrounding the notion that that one burly pro football player could be bullied by another. “Why not just ‘man up’ and have it out?” much of the talk went. But as details emerged, the scope of the problem began to dawn. While there is surely much we do not know about this situation, there is one thing we do know. Professional football constitutes a workplace, and no one should be harassed or “bullied’ in any workplace.
Statistics vary, but some studies reveal that nearly half of all American workers have been affected by workplace abuse, either as a target of such behavior—from yelling, threats, and rumors to manipulative techniques such as isolation and sabotage of work performance—or as witnesses to abuse aimed at a co-worker.
It’s not clear if bullying is actually on the rise or if more people feel free to discuss it now that the phenomenon has come to light. We are relieved that these practices have emerged from the shadows so that those who are vulnerable will feel freer to express themselves.
Please let us hear from you: Have you been bullied or witnessed bullying in the workplace? What did you do in response? Share your responses to this weekly discussion question here.