Emulating locker-room behaviour (Editor's Notes)

Professional sports teams the last bastion for workplace bullying?
By Todd Humber
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/16/2014

When it comes to workplaces that tolerate bullying and harassment, the locker room of a pro sports team may very well be ground zero.

Antics that have long been banned in the “real world” have continued unabated in the realm of professional athletes. Hazing, bullying and harassment are all de facto norms — even racist language can be a grey area that’s tough to stamp out. The National Football League (NFL) recently wrestled with the use of the N-word by players, but couldn’t reach a consensus to ban it. Richard Sherman, an African-American player on the Seattle Seahawks, called banning it “an atrocious idea.”

That’s head-scratching. But the gist of the argument is that for black players (and black players only) it’s akin to a term of endearment — similar to “bro” or “man.” Sherman said he hears it every game and talk of banning it is racist itself. Why not go after all swear words, he said.