NFL Bullying Epidemic Reaches Pie-in-the-Face Proportions

Dan LevyNational Lead WriterAugust 30, 2012

There are some who think the NFL has a bullying problem. Those people probably deserve a serious wedgie.

I kid, I kid. Wedgies are awful and now someone will undoubtedly rip into this harmless joke as approval of a bullying mentality, explaining in detail how a wedgie can cut off blood to certain body parts that may lead to long-term damage—not to mention the monetary hardship that stems from receiving an ill-timed "super wedgie" that could rip and ruin undergarments. Let's not even get into that, folks. 

How many fans and media were wringing their hands in consternation after video surfaced of Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul throwing defensive back Prince Amukamara into a cold tub. "We must end hazing now," people screamed. "There is no place for bullying in the NFL," others yelled. "What kind of message does this send to our kids?" the nation angrily opined. 

Did you see Amukamara's face when he got out of the tub? He looked really mad! It must have been more than just a locker-room prank! You can't tell me that wasn't bullying when his face clearly showed that it was! Exclamation points help show just how indignant I have become!

Following the tub incident, the public outrage over a private incident that was put online created such a reaction that Amukamara had to answer thirty questions from reporters. Pierre-Paul had to publicly address the issue and apologize, and punter Steve Weatherford, who posted the video online, had to apologize for letting fans get a glimpse into what goes on in NFL locker rooms every single day.

Right on, Steve, you should apologize for sharing a seemingly light-hearted moment where a guy could have (but didn't) gotten hurt in your locker room. You better say you are sorry, you monster.

If NFL "hazing" is the new bullying, anything that happens in an NFL locker room could be, too.

This week, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was hit in the face with a shaving cream pie while talking to reporters. Rodgers took the heinous attack in stride, vowing retaliation against the offending parties. It may have seemed like a harmless locker-room prank where nobody got hurt, but one could surely make the case it was another terrible incident of hazing and bullying. 

Hear me out on this. Rodgers was hit in the face with shaving cream while talking to reporters who were then seen, on camera, laughing at him. Who knows what kind of emotional hardship the All-Pro quarterback could suffer from being mocked by those who cover him on a daily basis. How can he show his face in public again after such a demoralizing assault?

Speaking of his face, did anyone think about his face?! Sure, a shaving cream pie in the face is an age-old prank in sports, but does anyone stop to think about the damage it can do to someone as important as Rodgers?

What if the cream got into his eye, causing him temporary—or even permanent—blindness? What if the best quarterback in the league suddenly went blind forever? Did John Kuhn or Brett Goode, the purported perpetrators of this pernicious prank, think about the potential aftereffects of what that could do to their quarterback's vision?

Oh, by the way, we have yet to address that according to Discovery Health, shaving cream is really bad for your skin. One of the main ingredients in creating lather is the same stuff found in antifreeze and brake fluid. The moisture comes from mineral oil that is a byproduct of petroleum that is used to power our cars. Not to mention, some brands use ingredients that have been linked to much more terrible diseases:

Triethanolamine, better known as TEA…is a very controversial ingredient in the cosmetic industry because not only is it a skin irritant, but many formulas containing TEA are found to be contaminated with nitrosamines, which are linked to cancer.

Cancer. What looked like a harmless pie-in-the-face gag could have either blinded Rodgers for life or given him face cancer! Or anything in between! Exclamation points help show just how indignant I am! 

Rodgers took it in stride, telling reporters he can appreciate a good practical joke, then vowing, "They've got to understand when they do it to me, it's going to come back probably twice as hard."

This can only end in someone losing an appendage. There is no other possible outcome.

Please don't let any of this snarkiness and sarcasm lead you to think I am suggesting that bullying is not a terrible thing and has no place on school playgrounds or street corners. I went to school with kids who would throw pennies at me in the lunchroom in hopes I would pick them up (eventually, I did and then asked them to start throwing dimes and quarters so I could pay for a snack).

The older degenerates down the street stuffed me in a trash can. My nickname in high school vacillated between making fun of me for being Jewish in a town with few of us and making fun of me for being pale, because 20 years ago getting skin cancer must have been all the rage. (Note: I wonder if those idiots use shaving cream because I hear that causes face cancer.)

Bullying is serious. It can ruin kids' lives, especially if it goes unreported and certainly if it escalates beyond teasing into threats or physical violence (been there, too, though thankfully not often). This is not to mock bullying, but more to mock those who equate NFL hazing or mindless locker-room pranks to what kids deal with every day in the school-yard shadows.

NFL players do so much to stamp out bullying that to compare what happens in training camp to that—or getting indignant about what rookie hazing says to our children—is patently unfair.

A pie in the face is silly. A dunk in a tank is childish. Equating locker-room hi-jinks to the serious problem of bullying is idiotic, and there aren't enough wedgies, tub plunges or pies to the face that should ever have us thinking otherwise.