NBA Releases Memo Warning Players About Bullying

The NBA released a memo on Nov. 8 warning its players about the dangers of bullying and hazing.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the memo says the league will not tolerate any form of these two practices. It also includes a reference to the ongoing Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin issue with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.  

Several prohibited forms of hazing and bullying were enumerated in the memo, and players were encouraged by the NBA to speak out if they observe anything out of the ordinary. 

Stein cites several of his league sources in listing the prohibited behaviors. 

“The lengthy list of violations, sources said, includes: any physical abuse or threats of violence; verbal abuse focused on an individual’s race, nationality, color, age, religion, sexuality, etc.; destruction, defacement or threat of a fellow player’s personal property; engaging in any activity that intimidates or threatens fellow players with ostracism or inflicts extreme mental stress, embarrassment, humiliation or shame; and forcing an individual to engage in any activity or perform any task that violates federal, state or local law or NBA rules and regulations.

“Also prohibited, sources said, is requiring an individual to unreasonably pay for meals, travel, entertainment expenses, goods or services that are being solely enjoyed by others as well as imposing physical activities on a fellow player — such as exposure to weather, confinement in a restricted area, or consumption of food, liquid or substance — that leads to unreasonable risk for the individual or adversely affects their mental or physical health or safety.”

Stein also writes NBA veterans routinely force their rookies “to wear kindergarten-style backpacks.” However, the Minnesota Timberwolves are the first team to do away with this practice, per a Los Angeles Times update on Nov. 11

Timberwolves rookie guard Shabazz Muhammad had been previously asked to bring a Jonas Brothers backpack, but this has since been banned by the team. Muhammad said,”They actually said they don’t want us carrying them, but I understand with the stuff going on with the football thing. They want to be separate from that. Now I think rookie hazing won’t exist anymore.” 

When Martin, a second-year offensive lineman with the Dolphins, left his team on Oct. 30, different reports about Incognito’s alleged history of bullying, dislike for rookies and use of racial slurs have gone viral online. 

In spite of the allegations, some teammates have even sprung to Incognito’s defense, saying he is a great teammate. 

A timeline of the ongoing Incognito-Martin saga courtesy of USA Today Sports’ Jesse Yomtov can be seen here

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