Coaches teach respect, not hazing

Coaches teach respect, not hazing

By Elohino Theodore
Staff Writer
[email protected]

Bullying and hazing are not something new to sports.

Hazing, however, can quickly turn into dangerous bullying. The most recent story of Miami Dolphins’ Richie Incognito, who was suspended for the treatment toward fellow teammate Jonathan Martin, is a prime example. Martin left the team due to having problems, emotionally, from repeated hazing.

EWU men’s basketball head coach Jim Hayford explains that he has never had hazing or bullying problems on any of his lineups and he also discusses how to avoid these situations. “Fortunately in my coaching career, that isn’t something that I had to deal with. What it comes back to is the culture of your team,” Hayford said.

Hayford wants communication between him and his players if there are incidents that happen. “What I would hope is that any player [who is] on my team, who felt like he wasn’t being treated with respect, could come talk to me and we could work that out,” Hayford said.

The EWU men’s basketball team has a ritual that they go through that prevents any type of inappropriate hazing or bullying from happening. The team starts every day by getting together at the middle on the court. Meeting with the coaching staff and players every day helps keep the team together. They cover everything that has to do with the team and hash out any current disagreements if there are any.

Head EWU football coach, Beau Baldwin offers the best way for players to act around each other in a locker room setting. “I think you just treat others like humans and like men. That’s the way I see it,” Baldwin said.

However, Baldwin also thinks that there are certain privileges that experienced players get to have over younger players. “There are definitely things that I think seniors have earned the right to. They eat first when we do things on the road, there might be times where a freshman has to carry someone’s pads out of respect,” Baldwin said.

He also points out that hazing might have gotten less frequent in sports compared to past years. “To be quite honest, hazing probably slowed down more [in recent years]. What’s gotten more extreme is social media and anything anyone ever does or says is out there.”

Baldwin stated that his team rarely gets into serious disputes or any kind of trouble except for occasional arguments here and there. “There’s arguments; there’s fights on the field occasionally. But that, to me, that has nothing to do with hazing. That’s just two guys competing and going at it,” Baldwin said.

As a coach, Hayford has a zero tolerance take on bullying and hazing. Hayford also has rules that hang on the walls of the team locker room that players must abide by.

“We have six principles for our team that prevent stuff like that from happening,” Hayford said. These are placed above the lockers, these principles are to be aware, be prepared, embrace maturity, over-communicate, accountability and respect each other.

Hayford believes hazing is inappropriate and that it should be absent in the sports world. “There’s just no place for it in team sports. Teams sports [are] one of the greatest learning environments in our society and there’s no place for it,” Hayford said.

Baldwin also looks at hazing as a negative part of the culture in sports. “Yes, there is a certain level. I get it, there’s a level of power and certain guys have to make decisions and others have to listen, but it doesn’t involve needing to treat other people with disrespect. To me, that’s not leading.”