Tyrone Williams II
Psychology and Professional Sports
The culture of sports, in a lot of ways, represents the traditional idea of masculinity. There is a huge problem in the sports arena, where the intense training it takes to be a successful athlete heightens the drive to seek status and appear strong, notes Mark Stevens, PhD, Div. 51 president-elect and director of university counseling services at California State University, Northridge. "To be an athlete, you are going to have to compete, work through pain; you're going to bully, intimidate, have a sense of bravado and no room for weakness," says Stevens. "There are many athletes who lead successful lives off the court or field, but we also find that other athletes don't know how to differentiate between behavior on the field and behavior in the real world."
The appeal of professional sports and the National Football League (NFL) in particular, translates to many stories becoming not just sports-related news, but making national headlines. One in particular that has been both baffling and irresistible has been the allegations of bullying in the locker room of the Miami Dolphins, brought on by player Jonathan Martin against fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito. Incognito appeared surprised, even shocked, at the allegations of bullying that was thrown his way. Martin has accused Incognito of relentless bullying, extortion, and voicemails were released to the media that Incognito made on Martin’s phone, using the “N” word at will. Martin is a black man and Incognito is a white man. He threatened his family, and used hostile language with inappropriate racial slurs. After commentators initially jumped to Martin’s defense and Incognito was characterized as a relentless bully, backlash of Martin and the possibility of his “misrepresenting” his relationship with his teammate emerged after multiple Dolphins’ players spoke out in defense of Incognito and claimed the exchanges between the two were...