I read with sadness that a six foot five inch tall three-hundred and twenty-five pound professional football player was bullied. It got so bad that he just left the team. Of all men offensive linemen are powerful almost indestructible. Maybe he just wanted to belong, be part of the group, but the cost was too high.

Sifu Mohr used to tell us that when martial artists cross hands the consequences will be severe, even to death. What happens when these giants of men do so? The player in question walked away, maybe from the game forever.

Long ago I worked with one of the meanest SOB’s I have ever known. I was young, he some years older than me. His cubicle sat right next to mine. He rode me hard, unmercifully criticizing and demeaning me. One day he said something that crossed the line. I walked away.

I composed myself then walked over to the HR director, stuck my head inside the door and said: “You can handle this however you like, but if he ever speaks to me like that again, we are going to duke it out until only one of us gets up.” She never said anything to me, but the next day they moved our cubicles and I got a window view.

Soon after that, I left and became a consultant. One day years later I heard that the SOB had been fired for stealing from the company. I laughed out loud.

Let’s hope this football player laughs last too.


35 Comments on “bullies”

  1. Shannon says:

    You da man! Haha bet that was a new one in HR.

  2. I don’t know about this footballer’s case. Bullying isn’t always in your face so you can deal with it. It happens behind you with whispering campaigns, spreading rumours about you that aren’t true, isolation and exclusion it’s an ugly thing.

  3. I’m still sickened by the Incognito scandal. Every time I see “Dolphins update” on Sports Center, I get all riled up again. Bullies suck.

  4. Nifti says:

    I’d want to write something on grown-up bullies. When I can gather my thoughts and put my stories together about my experiences at work.. oh! You know.. it’s just like we hear of playground bullies.. these bullies are probably getting bullied themselves.

    • billgncs says:

      yes, the similarity is amazing — I once saw a manager take a marker and click it against his teeth during a presentation by a subordinate for several minutes…

  5. hugmamma says:

    Bullying among children gets all the press. What fails to make the front page is the bullying that goes on among adults…who should know better. Like you, I’ve walked away from folks who try to strong arm me to their way of thinking, be they friends…or relatives. Who needs negative vibes from those who are suppose to support you, when there are enough challenges to face in the society, especially these days.

    thanks for sharing…

  6. silent kim says:

    That’s one for the underdog!! Karma can be so sweet.

  7. jiltaroo says:

    I never thought I could be interested in stories about football until I read yours!

  8. I wouldn’t be surprised if that linebacker – who seems beyond bullying – is gay, whether out or closeted. Players are surprisingly biased against gays in the locker rooms… whether it’s the whole shower thing, the insecurity of their own gender identity, hard to say.

    As for your co-worker, I am actually sad for him. Not because I’m unsympathetic to YOUR having bullied – you handled that well – but because behind every bully is a sad little person whose ego is shrinking with every insult hurled, and who was probably bullied at home himself, either at home or at school at some point.

    Bullies are to be first put in their place, then pitied. Hating them gives them power, you know? But I can understand your laughing. Revenge is a dish… Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my peace poem… Bye for now, I’ll be back! Amy

    • billgncs says:

      I’m all about forgiveness:


      but as my old boss and neighbor told me…

      I couldn’t wait to fire that SOB.

      I think that bullying is infectious, even up to a national level. And yes, some are hurt, small people, we all have to choose what actions we take.

    • jiltaroo says:

      That is exactly what I tell my children. I will never put up with them being bullied but I always explain that the bullies are usually the ones with problems. Perhaps they have suffered abuse, or this is the only way that they know how to be. It is never acceptable, but at least my boys can try to feel some empathy and pity for these damaged people. My boys will always come first though, and until I can see that they can look after themselves, I am a lioness. Once they can….I hope that they can show pity.

  9. dani says:

    i hadn’t realized that there was bullying in professional sports ~ at least not from one’s own teammates. it’s very sad that he may have given up his dream because of others’ cruelty. bravo on how you handled the bully.

    • billgncs says:

      Thanks Dani – kindness is always a precious commodity, maybe more rare than gold.

      When I played rugby, we even had it then, never if you had talent, but the guys who were just on the cusp and wanted so badly to belong that they became vulnerable. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Clanmother says:

    This is a post that everyone should read. Bullies are amongst us, sometimes hiding in a guise of care. We know the loud and obnoxious; it is more difficult to identify a bully that wounds with a softly malicious tone. Or the group bullying that is known as “mobbing.”

    โ€œIf you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.โ€
    โ€• Dalai Lama XIV

  11. not fair Bill…teasing us about your murderous roommate….story please.
    glad you went to hr and stood up for yourself so many nowadays feel they will lose their jobs and with them so few…
    As for the football player he is more man in my eyes for walking away and having the courage to report why.
    God Bless hope all is well with you tell Jan hello for me.

  12. so glad you laughed out loud and I hope that football player gets to do the same as well! I always love your stories Bill.

  13. safia says:

    The saddest situations in life can arise from one person feeling they are better than, or inferior to, those around them. I believe bullying stems from this – the bully actually feels inferior and must assert something – his/her authority, position, physical strength, in an attempt to prove otherwise. Walk away, yes, but also let others know why you are taking that course of action.

    • billgncs says:

      thanks Safia – in some places the management actually supports bullies, in those cases the only alternative is to find a new job.

      Ultimately, people choose to be accept or deny it.

  14. Eric Alagan says:

    That football player was more of a man than those bullies. In a culture that worships brute force, he displayed calm admirable strength, I reckon.

    You did right by approaching HR, but I could not.

    As workshop manager, I once reported to an English man, the engineering director, who treated us Singaporeans with the condescending attitude that only a recent colonial master could muster. (At that time, Singapore until recently was a British colony).

    In full view of my staff, he berated and called me โ€œstupidโ€ over something. I knew better than to approach HR as that yellow belly was scared stiff of Caucasians.

    I slammed my fist on the table and spoke in measured tones, โ€œCriticize my ideas if you wish but donโ€™t you ever call me, stupid.โ€

    I suppose you noticed the positioning of the comma. He stomped off without replying but for the rest of his tenure โ€“ 2 years โ€“ I received no salary raise.

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