November 14th, 2013
The Workplace Bullying Institute solution for the NFL bullying problem
10 Steps to Ensure an Abuse-Free NFL Workplace
1. The change must be at the NFL level and not remain buried within the Dolphins organization alone.
2. Be careful to not move from zero awareness to zero tolerance. The most extreme swing will make compliance officers of all coaches and compel snitching among players. Resentment would ensue. Allow time to learn new ways to interact. Tolerate up to two offenses prior to termination.
3. Create a policy to draw “the line in the sand.” Unacceptable conduct must be specified. Behavioral standards must exist for comparison’s sake.
4. Demand that the policy pertain to all employees — owners to rookie players and all coaches in between. Apply the standards consistently. Do not resolve on a “case-by-case” basis that allows for exemptions for favorites.
5. Before formal complaints can be filed, require that bullied players first consult with a member of an Expert Peers Team trained in the nuances of workplace bullying so that the ambiguous experiences can be clarified, strategies provided and information about the policy and procedures explained safely and confidentially.
6. Write the policy or code to address only the most severe, health-harming forms of abusive conduct that has absolutely nothing to do with performance (playing the game successfully).
7. Allow non-humiliating rituals to continue (such as rookies gathering helmets at the end of games … see coach Pete Carroll). Render extinct hazing, intimidation, financial extortion, and other non-physical forms of abuse.
8. Devise safe, non-retaliatory, non-stigmatizing procedures that enable complaint filing and 3rd party investigations.
9. Provide healing, restorative justice solutions for affected targets, bullies and witnessing coworkers.
10. Identify veteran & retired players known for toughness (e.g., Ray Lewis) who can be league ambassadors on the topic.
Roger Goodell, call me at 360-656-6630.
Gary Namie, PhD
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