Sunday, November 10, 2013

Choosing the Wrong Side

Trey Smith


For you sports fans out there -- some of you non-sports fans even may know of this story -- there has been a tremendous amount of news coverage about the player on the Miami Dolphins professional football team who was allegedly being bullied by one or more teammates. The main protagonist is said to be Richie Incognito and, to the surprise of many, his teammates side with him far more than the alleged victim.

While a lot of people find this lack of empathy amazing, I would say it is par for the course. If the allegations of bullying are true and none of the players on the Dolphins tried to intercede on behalf of the victim, this would represent a moral failure on THEIR part. Since they certainly don't want to be viewed as moral failures, it stands to reason that they will say that no bullying occurred.

We see this same type of dynamic in many cases of incest. The mother will side with the male perpetrator (father, step-father, boyfriend, etc.) to deny the existence of sexual abuse because, if the mother were to acknowledge that the abuse did occur and she did nothing to try to stop it, society will view her as poorly as the monster who actually committed the crime! So, from both a legal and social perspective, it is in her best interests -- not the child's -- to say that nothing untoward was going on.

That's what I see happening with the members of the Miami Dolphins. They don't want to be blamed for looking the other way.

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