Locker room hazing

If you don't have to read the Wells Report, and want to keep your faith in humanity, take it from me, don't read it.

The scandal that surrounded and sunk the Miami Dolphins 2013 season came to a shocking and disturbing peak recently when the highly anticipated report was released, essentially convicting Dolphins guard Richie Incognito and his morally flawed cohorts of behavior so despicable it would even be looked down upon in the trenches of a National Football League game.

The pattern of abuse outlined in the independent report commissioned by the NFL on the circumstances that led Dolphins left tackle Jonathan Martin to leave the team is vile, works directly against the concept of a team, and is incongruous to a winning culture.

The team went 3-4 in the 7 games played before Martin left the team. His offensive line unit, which included Incognito, allowed a league high 4.6 sacks per game.

The thorough and detailed report compiled by lead investigator Theodore V. Wells Jr. outlines a culture in the Dolphins locker room that, even by the gladiator standards of the NFL, is "unprecedented" and included, "racial slurs and other racially derogatory language...homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching...sexually explicit remarks about [Martin's] sister and his mother."

On the other hand, the three time Pacific Conference Champion Corsairs maintain a positive locker room culture.

Red shirt freshman wide receiver Alex Soto feels that it takes strong leadership in the locker room to win.

"[Here at SMC] it is competitive; everything we do is to make each other better not to put each other down. It is the best football environment I've been in," Soto said.

Corsair head coach Gifford Lindheim credits a new school approach for avoiding conflicts like those detailed in the Wells report from happening in his locker room.

"They way we run our organization, every player has value. Starter or not starter is treated with respect and adds value to our team," Lindheim said.

There is a no hazing policy within the Corsair locker room and Lindheim believes that there is no value in hazing.

It may seem odd to think that a 312 pound linebacker could be abused, however the abuse seen in the Wells report comes from Martin's internalized inferiority.

In a text message exchange with his mother that was published in the report, Martin wrote,"I let people talk about me, say anything to my face, and I just take it... I mostly blame the soft schools I went to, which fostered within me a feeling that I’m a huge [expletive]."

According to the Olewus Bullying Prevention Program, these feeling are a sign of a submissive victim. A victim who, between the whistles, can knock the snot out of the man on the other side of the ball.

The rules of the sporting landscape have changed.

When a high school player is learning to love the game he plays, no matter the game, he cannot be afraid to be in his own locker room.

Quite simply, it is time to stop hazing of all kinds in sports.

"From this negative situation, hopefully, it will take us to a place where hazing is not acceptable," Lindheim said

SportsJames PowelComment