Posted on: November 6th, 2013 by Jen Mueller

What kind of environment do you work in?

You can’t help but ask that question after the headlines coming out of Miami over the last week.  The accusations of bullying inside the Miami Dolphins locker room are making national headlines and being addressed at many local levels.

I usually reserve this space for talking specifically about the Seahawks, but this is a bigger issue and the perfect example of a sports story bridging the gap to very sensitive issues: workplace conduct and bullying.

If you’re not familiar with the story, here’s a brief recap.  Miami’s Richie Icognito has been accused of bullying a teammate.  That teammate left the team last week and revealed threatening voice mails and text messages from Incognito containing racial slurs.

There is more to the story and everyone has an opinion as to what happened and what is appropriate inside an NFL locker room.  I’m not going to wade into that discussion here.  Instead I want to make two points.

  1. I am grateful to work in a locker room filled with truly incredible people.  Yes, the Seahawks are gifted athletes, but I enjoy getting to know them as people even more.  These guys understand the importance of being together as a team, supporting each other and trusting each other.  Seahawks fans should be proud to cheer for these guys and support them.
  2. An NFL locker room is a workplace.  It’s the ‘office’ the players go to everyday when it’s time to go to work.   It probably looks a lot different than your office, but it functions more similarly that you might realize.  That means this story pertains to you where ever you are.


Business Application:

If you can see the parallels between an NFL team and your team at work, then you can use the story coming out of Miami as a starting point to discuss your workplace environment.

Workplace conduct can be a touchy subject, especially if it feels like someone is pointing fingers or making accusations.  The Richie Incognito story provides a real-life example that doesn’t involve someone in your office.  It allows you to start the conversation and discuss behavior expectations.

It’s a useful conversation to have even if your workplace is humming along with no apparent problems. It can serve as a good reminder and a way to utilize sports fandom at work.

Jen and Pete Pre Jax 2Jen Mueller is the radio sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks, as well as, a reporter for ROOT Sports NW out of Seattle.  She is also a professional speaker and the author of Game Time: Learn to Talk Sports in 5 Minutes a Day, the go-to resource for new and novice sports fans.  The book is available on Amazon.