May 2, 2017
Read this scenario:
A group of girls on your team have been saying mean things and spreading rumors about a boy on your team. They comment on the way he dresses and make up stories about him that you know are untrue. You thought that the girls would lose interest in picking on your teammate, but this has been going on for several weeks now. You know that this isn’t right.
What do you do?
>Safe Sport says: Speak up! While you may not be chiming in during these girls’ take-down of your teammate, your silence isn’t doing anything to stop it. Next time you hear them bad-mouthing the boy, say something nice about your teammate or ask them to stop. Make sure your coach knows that this is going on.
Is this bullying?
>Safe Sport says: Not necessarily, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Bullying is intentional, repeated, and involves an imbalance of power, which can be real or perceived. Even though only two of the conditions for bullying are met in this case, it’s clear that there’s some negative stuff going on within your team. As someone who notices this, you can be a part of changing your team and making it more positive!
How do you stand up for your teammate without becoming a target yourself?
>Safe Sport says: Be kind to everyone, even the girls who are being mean. Ask your coach to talk with the team about sportsmanship starting with your teammates. Help create a team that stands up for one another and points out rude, mean, or bullying behavior.
Wrap It Up:
How do you practice sportsmanship at practice, in the locker room, and during team events?
>Safe Sport says: Sportsmanship is encouragement, pushing each other to be your best, promoting fair play, and following the rules. It is also promotes respect. Brainstorm ways to show respect to your teammates at all times.
*For Coaches: Even though this situation may not rise to the level of bullying behavior, you can still use the bullying-intervention tools you may have in place in your club. Look at your anti-bullying plan and familiarize yourself with its contents. Review it with your team to let them know who a concern like this would be handled. For more resources, visit www.usaswimming.org/toolkit or contact Safe Sport at (719) 866-4578 or firstname.lastname@example.org.