Team sports, particularly in school settings, can bring out the worst in coaches, players and parents. Many turn a blind eye to bullying in the name of winning championships. Unfortunately, undisciplined sports bullying is common in American culture and those in charge might not investigate these actions. Left unresolved, it can have unforeseen consequences for a team. It can discourage students from joining, pressure others to quit the sport, leave a team shorthanded and demoralize the players, costing them games. And like all forms of bullying, it can lead to more deadly consequences like violence or suicide.
Many of those “acceptable” forms of sports bullying come from within the team. When older team members or leaders ask new players to do humiliating tasks or mock players who make a mistake, it is called “team building.” In other cases, coaches push kids dangerously past their limits to get a good performance. Kids