Bullying in sports has come to the forefront with the recent developments in the Miami Dolphins case between Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. For over a week, Martin has been away from the team after voicemails were disclosed where Incognito threatened him and and his family.
However, during this time, sportswriters and athletes from various sports have stepped forward to talk about how they’ve been bullied in the past and Dodgers free agent reliever J.P. Howell was the latest. Howell was reading his wife’s new children’s book at Children’s Bureau Preschool at Magnolia Place and told Bill Shaikin of the LA Times that bullying took place in the Dodgers clubhouse:
Howell said he saw Yasiel Puig bullied in the Dodgers’ clubhouse, though he would not discuss who was involved, or what happened to Puig.
The guy is such a champion, Howell said. He has such a big heart. Sometimes he acts like a jerk, but that is his defense mechanism. It’s not really him.
Puig has become such a polarizing figure in baseball that it’s shocking that news about him being bullied hasn’t come out sooner. Traditions in baseball include rookies wearing backpacks to the bullpen, carrying luggage, dressing up for the last roadtrip of the season and those that aren’t made public.
For someone adjusting to a new country and a new language, it’s certainly not the best thing that Puig or anybody for that matter has been bullied in the clubhouse. Puig drew the ire of several opposing teams due to his bat flipping and sometimes nonchalant attitude in the field at times and it’s possible his teammates didn’t like it either.
Don Mattingly has been revered for the way he handles his players and you have to wonder how much he knew about what was taking place in his own clubhouse. Howell is a free agent and with this new information coming to light it’ll be interesting to see if this somehow affects the Dodgers decision to bring him back.
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