By Julie Buehler

Some say sports are an escape. I disagree. Sports are life accelerated, amplified and then magnified.
So when there’s an issue in sports, we should first look at our culture.

When steroids were the hottest story in baseball, many looked at the players and coaches and wondered how could so many be led astray. Many pointed to the simplistic notion of rising salaries. But the bigger picture is our society is in the throngs of an obsession with instant gratification. Kids are now more likely to cheat on a college entrance exam or stick a needle in their arse than put the extra work in morning, noon and night. That’s a society thing, not a baseball thing.

With the latest story in the NFL and controversy surrounding Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, bullying isn’t a football thing, it’s a society thing.


Incognito, a veteran offensive lineman is accused of bullying, harassing and threatening his teammate, 2nd year lineman, Martin.

Stories reveal detailed communication between the two men and many in sports media vacillate between blaming Incognito for his own bullish behavior and Martin’s ineptitude to stand up for himself.

We have never been more aware of the hazardous effects of bullying and the rampant problem, and yet when it comes to this story, the NFL, this seems like a difficult issue for some to understand.

But harassment is harassment, whether it be sexual, physical, mental or emotional. And it should never be tolerated.

Some say Martin needed to “toughen up.” In fact, there were reports his coaching staff asked Incognito to handle the job. I’d say, if a guy is playing in the NFL, he’s tough. And if the Dolphins didn’t think he was performing at a high enough level, why not bench him?

Some say, “I was bullied, I fought for myself and I’m better for it.” Sure, that’s like getting in a head-on collision to get your car replaced. I’d say that’s too much unnecessary collateral damage. Martin understood the only way to get relief was going to the necessary authorities, not volunteer to participate in that physical wreckage.

When talking about an NFL locker room, you’re talking about a closed society; one that hinges on acceptance. Much like a high school cheer squad, college chess club or marching band, anytime there’s a clique and some are allowed “in” and some are on the “outside” there’s going to be a process of acceptance. And that’s part of life, but that is where we see frequent bullying or hazing. In order to be accepted people are supposed to put themselves through indignities? Because this somehow proves what? I’d say it proves they are not leadership material, not critical thinkers or able to stand on their own.

Martin proved he is able to stand up for himself in the noblest way possible. Through preventing collateral damage and taking necessary steps to end the harassment.

I hope this conversation expands people’s understanding that bullying can never be tolerated and should ALWAYS be reported.

Julie Buehler hosts the Coachella Valley’s most popular sports talk radio show, “Buehler’s Day Off” every day from 3-6 on 1010 KXPS, the valley’s all sports station. She’s an avid gym rat, slightly sarcastic and more likely to recite Steve Young’s career passing stats than American Idol winners. Tune in M-F 3-6 pst at or watch the show on Ustream.