The level of hazing, bullying, harassment, and discrimination that makes up the latest NFL scandal splashed across today’s national headlines requires a culture of consent. And, it will take more than singling out the racist tweets of a single player to resolve. Here’s a sampling of media reports about the NFL and it’s inability to address abusive behavior in recent years. Note: the NFL recently amended their sexual harassment policies because of concerns that scouts were asking young college hopefuls about their preference for men or women. “Do you like girls?” Feel free to add to the list of articles below that outline how long this problem has been bubbling over into the media:
NFL’s Roger Goodell can’t sweep racism under the rug [ San Antonio Business Journal 8/13] “The problem for the NFL is not what Cooper did say, but what the league’s commissioner didn’t do…”
NFL Player Uses Racial Slur [Time 8/9/13] “On Wednesday, a video surfaced showing Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, who is white, hurling a racial epithet while attending a Kenny Chesney concert at Lincoln Financial Field in June. “I will jump that fence and fight every n—-r in here, bro,” he said after a confrontation with an African-American security guard. Cooper owned up to his offense. He apologized on Twitter, and while meeting with the press. “I’m disgusted,” Cooper said. “And I’m sorry. That’s not the type of person I am. I wasn’t raised that way. I have a great mom and dad at home. And they’re extremely, extremely disappointed in me. They are disgusted with my actions.” He also met with teammates Wednesday night, and delivered another apology. Cooper admitted he was drinking, but didn’t use that as an excuse. The Eagles fined Cooper an undisclosed amount…”
NFL to reinforce policy[ESPN.go 4/13]: “The league will circulate its policy to all 32 teams and hang posters in locker rooms explaining the anti-discrimination rules. In addition, the NFL will hold training sessions for league personnel, including rookies and those responsible for hiring and recruiting new players. The NFL also said it would strengthen its protocols for reporting incidents of discrimination or harassment. ‘The NFL has a long history of valuing diversity and inclusion,’ commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation is not consistent with our values and is unacceptable in the National Football League.’… The NFL also agreed to periodically report its progress in maintaining its anti-discrimination policy to the New York Attorney General’s office.”
New York Giants hazing iIncident not sinister [foxsports.com 8/21/12] “Like it or not, incidents like the one Amukamara endured are commonplace in NFL locker rooms. They happen every August. And they happen on 32 different teams.
“Look, there are certain unwritten rules that have been in place in the National Football League in its 90-year history,” said Shannon Sharpe, another Pro Football Hall of Famer. “I don’t know all the circumstances with this incident, but let me explain — when you come into the league as a rookie, certain things are expected of you and certain things are going to happen. You’re going to sing your school’s fight song. You’re going to deliver the veterans breakfast sandwiches. You’re going to pay for very expensive dinners.
“In training camp, you might get your hair cut, you might get taped to the goalposts and you might get dumped in the cold tub. You don’t fight it. It’s part of tradition. And guess what? A year later, if you make the team, the shoe will be on the other foot. You’re going to be the guy getting the breakfast sandwich delivered to you in the morning. You’re going to be the guy dumping the kid in the tub.”
NFL gets better with more inclusive non-discrimination policy [bleachreport.com 10/2/11] “George Atallah, NFLPA spokesman, said last week, “We certainly believe, speaking for the Players Association, that we have a tremendous social and cultural impact. We definitely understand the effect that we have on society and culture, and we feel we have a responsibility to have very high standards. With something like discrimination of any kind, we just want to make sure we are a symbol for good.”
Goodell: NFL employees have right to positive work environment [www.nfl.com 12/10/10] “NEW YORK — The NFL sent a workplace-conduct update to its teams Wednesday in which Commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized the effect that improper behavior can have on others. The memo is a reminder of the league’s belief that “all employees and associates of the NFL have the right to work in a positive environment” free from all forms of harassment, intimidation and discrimination.”
Can the NFL really continue to turn a blind eye to hazing [Sports Illustrated July 30, 2010] “One retired NFL veteran spoke of the “frank-n-buns” hazing tradition that occurred at a few NFL training camps in recent years. It involved rookies dropping their pants and dropping to all fours on the practice field, clinching a hot dog in their buttocks, and crawling. If the player dropped the hot dog, he was forced to eat it.
Another humiliating act still popular in many camps is tying a rookie to a goalpost and dousing him with water, sports drinks or shaving cream. In the 1980s, one team’s hazing tradition involved blindfolding rookies, standing them in a line and telling them to open their mouths. Veterans then made snorting and spitting sounds while tossing raw oysters into the players’ mouths and forcing them to swallow.”
- NFL to reinforce anti-discrimination policy (espn.go.com)
- Incognito texted slur, threats to Martin (cbssports.com)
- AP sources: Incognito sent racist texts (kansascity.com)
- NFL agrees to do more to protect gay players (cbsnews.com)
- State AG: NFL agrees to anti-discrimination reform (cbssports.com)
- Sources: NFL player sent racist texts (newsnet5.com)
- Shanahan Won’t Stand For Hazing, Hasn’t Seen Anything Like Miami (washington.cbslocal.com)