The Richie Incognito case: Workplace bullying or just "locker room" culture?

The harassment of the Miami Dolphins' Jonathan Martin raises complex questions about workplace bullying, masculinity and race.

As a 6 foot 5, 300-plus pound lineman on the National Football League's Miami Dolphins team, Jonathan Martin doesn't exactly fit the stereotype of a bullying victim. But as has now come to light, Jonathan Martin was the target of persistent harassment by Richie Incognito, a fellow lineman with a reputation as one of the dirtiest players in the league. This story raises troubling and complex questions about workplace bullying, jock culture and American culture overall regarding issues of power disparities, masculinity and race. Research shows us that some of the things that many dismiss as simply "locker room" culture are antecedents to workplace bullying. In fact, bullying targets — and bullies — come in all sizes, ages and kinds. This article explores psychological research on workplace bullying and concludes with recommendations for organizational change in the NFL.

The Public Interest Directorate's blog, "Psychology Benefits Society," explores the Richie Incognito case in further detail.