NYU Sports and Society Conference “Character, Respect, and Civility in Youth Sports: Ending Bullying, Improving Performance,” Focuses on Solutions for a Growing Problem in Schools and Athletic Programs

Joe Torre, Bob Costas, Fred Wilpon, Stephen M. Ross, Mark Messier, Teresa Weatherspoon, Harry Carson, and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe Provided Insight During Day-Long Discussion Aimed at Eradicating Disrespect and Abuse in the Locker Room and on the Playing Field

Conference Culminated in Announcement of Results of Nationwide NYU Sports and Society/Ipsos Poll Indicating – Bullying is Pervasive and Wrong, But is Often Not Addressed

NEW YORK, June 16, 2014 – NYU Sports and Society (scps.nyu.edu/sportsandsociety) today hosted nearly 120 high school athletic directors, coaches, and school administrators from across the New York metropolitan area at a conference titled, “Character, Respect, and Civility in Youth Sports: Ending Bullying, Improving Performance,” with the goal of beginning a conversation about anti-bullying efforts that would serve to create effective solutions across communities.

The conference was the manifestation of one of the initiatives proposed by NYU Sports and Society this past winter in a white paper that examined the phenomenon of bullying and other intolerant forms of behavior in sports and how to combat them. The paper was commissioned by Stephen M. Ross, managing general partner of the Miami Dolphins, after the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin bullying incident was publicly disclosed.  Research was conducted by faculty members and students of the NYU School of Law and the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

“Character, Respect, and Civility in Youth Sports: Ending Bullying, Improving Performance” provided stakeholders with the unique opportunity to hear from leading experts on the causes and the effects of bullying; compare their programs’ efforts toward maintaining respect and civility on and off the playing field; discuss personal experiences; hone in on solutions which can be implemented in sports and school programs nationwide; and develop previously nonexistent channels of communication to head off disrespect and abuse on all fronts.

The event kicked off with four presenters–Dr. Marianne Engle, renowned clinical child and adolescent psychologist, and sports psychologist; Wade Davis, executive director, You Can Play Project and retired NFL player; Troy McKenzie, professor of Law, NYU School of Law; and Kenneth L. Shropshire, David W. Hauck professor, The Wharton School, and faculty director, Wharton Sports Business Initiative, University of Pennsylvania–giving brief, “TED talks” style presentations on “Disrespect, Abuse, and Bullying: Causes and Effects; Identification and Prevention.”

Bob Costas, Emmy Award-winning sports broadcaster, journalist, and commentator, provided his thoughts on the evolution of youth and professional sports culture in a recorded interview with Arthur R. Miller, chairman of NYU Sports and Society, NYU University Professor, and NYU-SCPS director of Public Dialogues. Professor Miller also interviewed Stephen M. Ross, managing general partner of the Miami Dolphins, and Fred Wilpon, majority owner of the New York Mets, about the importance of character, respect, and civility in youth sports. In addition, he did a one-on-one interview with
2014 Hall of Fame inductee Joe Torre, executive vice president of Baseball Operations, Major League Baseball (MLB); founder of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation; and former MLB All-Star player and manager.

Arthur L. Caplan, Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty professor and founding head of the Division of Bioethics at the NYU Langone Medical Center, moderated a panel of coaches and athletics administrators which explored the state of youth sports culture and their experiences addressing disrespect, abuse, and bullying in individual athletics programs.

Renowned sportscaster and journalist Lesley Visser moderated the “Leadership in the Locker Room” panel featuring Harry Carson, Professional Football Hall of Fame member, and former New York Giants linebacker and captain; Mark Messier, chief executive officer, Kingsbridge National Ice Center, six-time Stanley Cup champion, Professional Hockey Hall of Fame member, and former captain, New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers; Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, NBA champion, NBA Rookie of the Year, and Basketball Hall of Fame member; and Teresa Weatherspoon, former NY Liberty/LA Sparks star, voted one of the top-15 WNBA players of all time. Panelists talked about their leadership roles and their experiences in creating a positive locker room culture.

The results of an NYU Sports and Society/Ipsos nationwide poll on bullying also were announced during the conference. According to the survey of over 1,000 respondents, ages 13-54:

  • Bullying in youth sports is pervasive – 74% of those who have been bullied and 71% of those who have bullied others feel bullying is a widespread issue.
  • Some feel bullying and hazing have a place in youth sports. Surprisingly, nearly one in four (22%) see a need for some bullying in youth sports to build character and teamwork (54% of those who have bullied vs. 15% of those who have not bullied).
  • The majority agreed that anti-bullying policies should be enforced – 67% of 13-20 year olds and 80% of 21-54 year olds believe youth sports environments should have strict and enforced anti-bullying policies.
  • Only one third believe youth sports leagues are properly addressing bullying (42% of parents vs. 27% of non-parents).
  • Many supported the idea of third-party monitoring as a preventative measure against bullying. 62% say that to prevent bullying, youth sports locker rooms, playing fields, and other sports settings should be monitored by a third party.
  • Many fail to stop bullying. While 76% feel bullying in youth sports can be reduced if proper training is enforced, 52% admit to not doing anything to stop someone from bullying another person in a sports setting while playing or coaching a sport. 60% of those who have bullied vs. 15% of those who have not bullied someone have not done anything to stop someone from bullying another person.

For full poll results, click here. For more information about the NYU Sports and Society, visit scps.nyu.edu/sportsandsociety. To interview a member of NYU Sports and Society, please contact Cheryl Feliciano at cheryl.feliciano@nyu.edu or Paola Curcio-Kleinman at pck211@nyu.edu.

About NYU Sports and Society
Sports are often referred to as fun and games. And they are, but they are far more than that. Sports are a reflection of the most fundamental norms and values that shape human society. Sports represent escape from the world, but they also are a huge presence within the world, accounting for hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue and bringing together more nations and groups than any political entity is capable of doing. Sports are a test bed for science and medicine, as well as for teaching, communicating, and mentoring.

Sports are big business. Sports fuel the media. Sports are critical to advertising and merchandising many of the world’s most lucrative products. Sports shape the beliefs and values of our children. Sports have and can lead the way in societal reform and ethical progress. Sports create our heroes, villains, and pariahs.

Despite all this, there is no single academic program that is devoted to examining the meaning, the morality, and the impact of sports on a global scale in an intensive and interdisciplinary fashion. The NYU Sports and Society (NYUSS) seeks to become the go-to academic program in the world for discussions of all aspects of sports and society. For more information, visit: scps.nyu.edu/sportsandsociety.

About the NYU School of Professional Studies

Established in 1934, the NYU School of Professional Studies (sps.nyu.edu) is one of NYU's several degree-granting schools and colleges, each with a unique academic profile. The reputation of the School of Professional Studies arises from its place as the NYU home for study and applied research related to key knowledge-based industries where the New York region leads globally. This is manifest in the School's diverse graduate, undergraduate, and Professional Pathways programs in fields such as Accounting, Finance, and Law; Applied Health; Arts, Design, and Film; Creative Cities and Economic Development; English-Language Learning; Entrepreneurship; Fundraising and Grantmaking; Global Affairs; Hospitality and Tourism Management; Human Resource Management and Development; Languages and Humanities; Management and Systems; Marketing; Project Management; Public Relations and Corporate Communication; Publishing; Real Estate, Real Estate Development, and Construction Management; Sports Management, Media, and Business; Translation; and Writing.

More than 100 distinguished full-time faculty members collaborate with an exceptional cadre of practitioner/adjunct faculty members and lecturers to create a vibrant professional and academic environment that educates over 5,000 degree-seeking students from around the globe each year. In addition, the School fulfills the recurrent professional education needs of local, national, and international economies, as evidenced by nearly 28,000 Professional Pathways enrollments in Career Advancement Courses and Diploma Programs. The School's community is enriched by more than 31,000 degree-holding alumni worldwide, many of whom serve as mentors, guest speakers, and advisory board members. For more information about the NYU School of Professional Studies, visit sps.nyu.edu.