Anti-bullying initiatives at grade schools across the country have made great strides in recent years in reducing the emotional and physical abuse that smaller and weaker students receive from their larger and stronger classmates.
“Through the hard work of thousands of educators and volunteers nationwide, we have helped make American schools a more welcoming, inclusive and respectful place for all students,” said Sharon McIntyre, president of the Stop Bullying Now Coalition. “The results have been overwhelmingly positive.”
But not everyone agrees. While the outreach has reduced bullying, it has also seen youth football participation — particularly among larger boys who play offensive and defensive line — plummet.
“This anti-bullying push is killing football in this country,” said Robb Medowski, who runs youth football camps throughout the Midwest. “We need huge, angry, hate-filled children who like inflicting pain on others, especially on the line of scrimmage. While life may be better for the nerds and pansies, we could be 10 to 15 years away from not having any linemen. I don’t think America wants that to happen.”
Anti-bullying programs universally stress compassion and non-violence, while football encourages players to be violent and merciless.
“People want to call them ‘bullies,’ well I call them the future star left tackles of the NFL,” said Medowski. “Show me any good linemen in the pros today, and I’ll show you someone who spent his childhood beating up dweebs. Take that intolerance and aggression away and you’re left with a giant flower arranger. Flower arrangers don’t make NFL money or fill stadiums with people.”
The anti-bullying pushback from youth football officials is also being joined by the U.S. military.
“Bullying sounds terrible, but bullies make great soldiers,” said Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “If America is under attack, who do you want protecting it: 100,000 bullies or some guys who will stop and consider the feelings of those they are shooting at? It’s not a tough question.”
Medowski says that football and military officials hope to meet with anti-bullying representatives soon “to talk about our differences and dole out some wedgies, if need be.”