Locker Room Banter – Not So Friendly?

I just teamed up with one of my classmates to write a timely article about hazing on sports teams. The recent news story about Jonathan Martin’s treatment on the Miami Dolphins prompted us to think about the difference between friendly team camaraderie and harmful bullying, and what the implications of that are for Christian athletes. We interviewed athletes and coaches from all different backgrounds, and it turns out that hazing resonates with people of all ages and in all realms of athletic competition.

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” “Late one night in the first couple months of college, I returned to my room covered in flour, chocolate icing, eggs, and who knows what else. I had just completed what was known as ‘freshman appreciation week’ for the women’s basketball team, which had also involved activities such as being blindfolded and kidnapped by upperclassmen, performing a dance in the cafeteria at dinner, and wearing a sign around campus for one day. As much as the other freshmen and I complained about what we had to do, we all came out of the week feeling more like a part of the team and truly cared for by the upperclassmen, even if they showed it in unconventional ways.”

Stories similar to this one are very common.

Freshmen and rookies are often hazed in a light, comical, slightly inconvenient way. Sometimes, however, it can go too far, and teammates are hazed and abused to the point of emotional and physical trauma. Too often, coaches and authority figures turn a blind eye to this harassment, and students who come forward and bring the abuse to light are mocked even more by their peers. In situations like these, there is no winning for the victims….”

Read the rest here!

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