Tyrone Williams II
Psychology and Professional Sports
The culture of sports, in a lot of ways, represents the traditional idea ofÂ masculinity. There is a huge problem in the sports arena, where the intense training it takes to be a successful athlete heightens the drive to seek status and appear strong, notes Mark Stevens, PhD, Div. 51 president-elect and director of university counseling services at California State University, Northridge. "To be an athlete, you are going to have to compete, work through pain; you're going to bully, intimidate, have a sense of bravado and no room for weakness," says Stevens. "There are many athletes who lead successful lives off the court or ...view middle of the document...
â€œIncognito also accused Martin of using equally crass language, claiming that was theÂ nature of their relationship. â€˜When words are put in a context, I understand why a lot of eyebrows get raised,â€™ Incognito told Fox Sports during the interview. â€˜But people don't know how Jon and I communicate to one another. For instance, a week before this went down, Jonathan Martin texted me on my phone, 'I will murder your whole F'ing familyâ€™â€¦ I knew that was coming from a brother. I knew it was coming from a friend. I knew it was coming from a teammate.â€™â€ (Walker, 2013, para 3-4).
One way that Incognito and Martin communicated was through teasing. There are good and bad ways of teasing. Good teasing, or what some researchers call pro-social teasing, is playful banter that is meant to express affection or affiliation. Good-natured ribbing between Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith on â€œInside the NBAâ€ could fall under this category. Pro-social teasing has a lot of benefits. It can be used to establish and maintain friendships, to express affection and resolve conflict with romantic partners, and to promote bonding among a group of people, including colleagues in an office and players on a sportsÂ team. (Keltner, Capps, Kring, Young, & Heerey, 2001; Keltner, Young, Heerey, Oemig, & Monarch, 1998; Turman, 2003). I know from personal experience that this is just how sports work. My teammates and I tease each other all of the time but we make sure we keep it strictly fun and loving. Psychologically, when you are part of a team, whether its sports, in the workplace, or even a fraternity of some sort, it is always important to remember that they are your brothers. When you go out to battle with those guys, you need to work with each and every one of them to reach that common goal which is usually a victory of some sort.
Bad (or anti-social) teasing includes hostile or aggressive behavior that is meant to hurt, humiliate, or harass someone. Aggressive insults between fans of different teams could fall under this category of teasing. Unfortunately, this type of teasing is one of the most common forms of bullying. It can lead to lowered self-esteem of an individual, anxiety, andÂ depression and can be terrible for group cohesion in a work or teamÂ environment. (Barnett et al., 2004; Keltner et al., 2001; Mills & Carwile, 2009; Turman, 2003).
â€œIncognito confirmed that he did leave the controversial voice mail message to Martin last April that included racial slurs and a threat to kill Martin. Despite the bad language, Incognito said his actions â€˜came from a place of loveâ€™ and that vulgar communication was normal among Dolphins players.â€ (Walker, 2013, para 7-8). Other articles have noted that despite being white, Incognito was given â€œhonorary black status,â€ whatever that means, and somehow was exempt from the regular standards of decency that promote the non-usage of racial slurs. Teammates regardless of their race are...