Columbus State University coaches say bullying is not a problem

Columbus State University coaches say bullying is not a problem

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Bullying is a common issue that seems to occur at work, schools and homes; however, those are not the only places where harassment takes place.

The Miami Dolphins' dispute still remains hot this week, and Richie Incognito's indefinite suspension is receiving lot of attention.

News Leader 9's Sara Lim met with local sports team coaches at Columbus State University to look into bullying issues that might occur among players.

"It is an unfortunate situation that has happened for the Miami Dolphins, but I never had my team mates bully each other," explained Columbus State University's head basketball coach Robert Moore. "Even when I was an athlete, I never was bullied or harassed. It is such an unfortunate situation for the Dolphins."

"It must have been really bad for Jon Martin to go to the coaching staff to talk about this problem," said Greg Appleton, Columbus State University's head baseball coach. "I'm shocked this happened. I heard stories where players talk to the captain of their teams if they are facing difficult situations. However, I haven't heard of situations where players actually walk up to their coaches about them unless it is really big."

Coach Moore has been with the basketball team at Columbus State University for about four years, and Coach Appleton has been with the baseball team for 17 years. They both were athletes when they were in high school and college.

However, both said they had never been bullied by their older teammates. Both coaches, however, explained that seniors often pick on their freshmen members by having them hold their bags or clean the locker room.

"It has almost become like a tradition," Coach Appleton explained. "Bullying or harassing is not allowed. We encourage our senior players to look after our young teammates. We are here for one goal and that is to play with integrity. But I have also had older players pick on me when I was new to the team. I think it is a way of seeing how badly the new members want to be in this team…to see if they have what it takes."

"People, especially male athletes, want to test these new comers because they have been picked on when they first started as well," Coach Moore said. "I had to carry uniforms and bring water when I was a new player too. It is nothing hostile. There are just some chores that new players have to deal with in order to earn their spot."

A recent survey reported that more than 90 percent of student athletes have faced harassment. One in five student athletes report frequent bullying that made their lives miserable.

Coach Moore and Coach Appleton explained that creating a positive atmosphere is extremely important for  the players to appreciate and encourage each other.

"I teach my senior players to look out for the young ones," Coach Moore explained. "We also do activities outside of practice in order to help my players establish strong bonds. We are one team whether we win or lose our games."

"I try to help my players to treat others as they want to be treated," Coach Appleton added. "I also educate them. I make sure they understand the detrimental effects that bullying creates."

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