Has the Richie Incognito–Jonathan Martin situation opened the ‘bullying in sports’ floodgate? That’s certainly one of my fears. Now, there’s been another reported case of bullying in a pro sports locker room. This time, it involves the Los Angeles Dodgers and Yasiel Puig.
Dodgers’ pitcher J.P. Howell has come forward and told the L.A. Times that he saw Puig being bullied by teammates after he was called up to the majors this past season. However, he won’t say who bullied him or what actually happened. Here’s what Howell (a victim of bullying himself) did tell the Times:
“The guy (Puig) is such a champion. He has such a big heart. Sometimes he acts like a jerk, but that is his defense mechanism. It’s not really him. Someday, he is not going to be 22. He’s not going to be like that. I love the guy. I hope he never changes, just maybe matures.”
Howell also said that a veteran player once cut up the only suit he owned at the time and that he views intentionally throwing at players as bullying.
I truly hope that this doesn’t become a trend in the sports world. Yes, players in all sports have all been being bullied for years and years. Is it to the level that Martin was supposedly bullied in Miami? Probably not. There’s nothing wrong with giving rookies a hard time and pulling some pranks on them. As long as the ‘bullying’ isn’t well over the line (racism, thousand dollar tabs, etc.), it should continue in the world or sports. Rookies should just look at it as a character builder and know that they’ll get their turn to ‘bully’ someday.