By Kerri L. Stone, Associate Professor of Law, Florida International University, Huffington Post, Nov. 16, 2013
In the wake of the Richie Incognito suspension, a big question that we need to ask is…why? With bullying so rampant in society, why has this story captivated the public imagination? And why did the Dolphins decide to suspend him that Sunday afternoon after initially defending him in a statement released just that morning?
The first question is easy. Bullying is linked in the public imagination to juvenile, perhaps inconsequential schoolyard behavior that “strong” adults should be able to tolerate, especially when they are large, famous professional football players. No one has cared much about workplace bullying among adults, and this has been a mistake. Until now. In the NFL.
The harm that workplace bullying does to organizations’ morale, productivity, and efficiency is well-documented. It erodes employees’ feelings of wellbeing and dignity in the workplace. Each day in this country, untold numbers of people falter and/or leave their employment because of corrosive workplace bullying. But until a famous football player took a stand and walked away from fame and success, no headlines screamed to us about this phenomenon.