The recent revelations by cricketer Yuzvendra Chahal on being gagged by drunk teammates and forgotten points to the dark side of sports.
Bullying may traditionally be associated with children but is also seen in all age groups. This has been happening for a while now, be it school or college or sometime even in a professional setup in the offices. The degree and the subject may vary but there has been a hierarchy among people to cow down to the new entrants or the docile ones. Some happen subtly and others happen overtly. The method of bullying may have changed over the years, but the menace has to go.
Acts of aggression or crossing boundaries are often treated as harmless ‘fun’, or a part of team initiation or bonding. The power imbalance that exists as a part of bullying, the pressure to fit in, or the social stigma associated with mental health may also prevent people speaking up about the same.
There needs to be a zero-tolerance policy against any form of harassment or bullying within the sporting environment. Players must be encouraged to report such instances and swift action be taken.
Ideally, the management should oversee leading the organization in a clean and respectful way, by developing a system where the work etiquette promotes healthy competitive behaviours. They are the ones who should control the training as well as the social environment. However, as we have seen in the past, sportspersons have also experienced bullying from the management itself.