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Repercussions Likely To Follow After Details Of Bullying Released In Dolphins Report

Publication Date: 
February 17, 2014
Sports Business Daily

Professor William Gould weighs in on the NFL's struggles in handling the mental and physical health of players for Sport's Business Daily. 

The findings of Ted Wells' investigation into alleged abuse in the Dolphins' locker room were issued Friday, and the life of players was "depicted in extraordinary and often unseemly detail, evoking 'Lord of the Flies' more than the highlight reels that saturate autumn Sundays," according to a front-page piece by Ben Shpigel of the N.Y. TIMES. The piece, which ran under the header, "A Classic Case Of Bullying Seen In An NFL Team," was 1,560 words long (N.Y. TIMES, 2/15). Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross issued a statement saying, "I told Ted Wells personally during my visit with him that we are committed to addressing the issues outlined in this report. We must work together towards a culture of civility and mutual respect for one another. ... We are committed to a positive workplace environment where everyone treats each other with respect" (Dolphins).


...Sam Farmer wrote Wells' report provides an "unflattering snapshot of a locker room culture where off-color remarks about sexual preference and race are commonplace." It is "unclear what the NFL will do next, but sensitivity training is likely to be a point of emphasis at the league's annual rookie symposium, which is mandatory for every incoming draft class." Stanford law professor William Gould, a former NLRB Chair, said that the NFL is "facing an image crisis over its handling of concussions and health issues," the controversy surrounding the Redskins nickname and the "coarse culture of locker rooms." Gould said, "All of these things suggest that the game is insufficiently sensitive to both civility, good manners and fair treatment. This is something that's going to become increasingly important" (L.A. TIMES, 2/15).