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Gina Badalaty is a lifestyle blogger for moms raising kids with special needs. She is passionate about living a nontoxic life, inclusion for kids with disabilities and technology to help kids thrive.
July 24, 2012Net Nanny for Android 2.0
Mar 27, 2017
Team sports, particularly in school settings, can bring out the worst in coaches, players and parents. Many turn a blind eye to bullying in the name of winning championships. Unfortunately, undisciplined sports bullying is common in American culture and those in charge might not investigate these actions. Left unresolved, it can have unforeseen consequences for a team. It can discourage students from joining, pressure others to quit the sport, leave a team shorthanded and demoralize the players, costing them games. And like all forms of bullying, it can lead to more deadly consequences like violence or suicide.
Many of those “acceptable” forms of sports bullying come from within the team. When older team members or leaders ask new players to do humiliating tasks or mock players who make a mistake, it is called “team building.” In other cases, coaches push kids dangerously past their limits to get a good performance. Kids who want to be a “team player” respect the older members and adults who are in charge and rarely report incidents even if they are hurt. Serious injuries or health issues can follow. If your child comes home injured, depressed or demoralized each time he’s with his team, there might be more going on than simply a coach setting a high standard.
Parents also need to curb their behavior. What they model at sporting events will set a child’s guideline on how athletes should behave. This includes behaviors like yelling, cursing, threatening violence or even speech that targets a group. For example, the common phrase “you run like a girl” is meant to demean male athletes. Instead, it belittles women and teaches disrespect.
Bullying can follow athletes in their professional life, as well. 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas was cyberbullied after not putting her hand over her heart when the U.S. national anthem played during her medal ceremony. In 2013, former NFL player Jonathan Martin claims he was bullied by his Miami Dolphin teammates.
Have we built a culture of bullying in athletics? How common is sports bullying? Statistics are scarce, but when bullying is viewed as “team building,” many cases go unreported. It’s clear that as a society, we need to try and break this culture of sports bullying. Here are some suggestions on how to start:
The common problem of sports bullying in the U.S. is as challenging as cyberbullying or classroom bullying. By promoting a culture that respects others and finding community-oriented ways to build teams, we can overcome this problem and help young athletes grow into responsible, well-guided adults.
Find more resources to keep your family safe and discover how parental control software can limit cyberbullying.