The hurt locker 

Street Smarts

With Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin having checked himself into a hospital after apparently being bullied by a teammate, it's a look-in-the-mirror time for team sports.

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Aaron Gretsky of the west side is unemployed

What's your read on the "bullying in the NFL" story? I looked into it after hearing about it on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Those voice mails and racial statements were pretty over the top and, jokingly or not, the guy threatened to kill the other player.

Have you played team sports? In high school in L.A., I played freshman football and wrestled on varsity. In college I played rugby.

How do you recall that culture? There's a locker room culture where older players bully and haze younger players. I had long hair my freshman year in high school. Some of the older players were catching freshmen with long hair and shaving their heads. I had to be on the lookout for that. There was a little end-of-the-season hazing in rugby, but we were all friends, and it largely involved beer bongs.

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Loren Lee of the Broadmoor area is a contractor

What are your thoughts on the NFL bullying story? That kind of thing is not acceptable on any level, pro sports or otherwise.

Have you played team sports? I played basketball and softball all through elementary school and middle school in Jackson, Mississippi, but not in high school.

How do recall that culture? We were just a group of young girls, "together forever." It was a lot of fun, a positive experience.

Has that culture changed for the worse? It's always been there, but it probably seems worse now because we have so much instant access through social media to every little instance of bullying and violence.

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Sterling Brown of Denver is in human resources

Have you played team sports? I played high school football and basketball in Chicago.

How do you remember that culture? There was an us-against-them mentality, but it lent itself more to one-upmanship than to violence. There were fights after games between fans, though. It was like hooliganism in soccer — more the students attending the games than the sport itself.

Have you ever experienced bullying or hazing? I did in the Marines. It's a military rite of passage in training, or when you move to a new base or new platoon. I saw some terrible things go on, though, things I never want to be part of again.

Is awareness of mental health issues on the upswing? My father has been diagnosed with dementia, and there seems to be a lot more information and awareness around that kind of thing now.


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