Words matter

I am an avid Seahawks fan. I have been for over 10 years, so their less-than-stellar season this year is nothing new to me. Honestly, all the winning and Super Bowl appearances were a bit confusing for me. A losing season is something familiar and there is certainly comfort in that.

My husband and I and our two children watch the game most every Sunday, with great enthusiasm. Our 2-year-old now recognizes the Seahawks symbol as “football!!” and knows to say touchdown when both arms go straight up overhead. It’s adorable. We’re so proud.

Because we watch the game as a family, I was incredibly disappointed by some of the language of the NBC announcers this past Sunday (Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth). They were making off-hand comments about the Seahawks and Cardinals rivalry and described the Seahawks as the “bully” of their division. They went on to say that the Cardinals likely wanted to be the bully and that this game would be a big deal for both teams.

In an age when we have active anti-bullying campaigns, I was incredibly disappointed to hear such flippant language that not only normalizes bullying, but presented it as a positive position for a group to take. Think about the message my children heard when the announcers said that my family’s favorite team is a bully and that the team they are playing wants to be the bully! It sends the message that being a bully is not only okay, but a desirable thing!

The NFL may have an anti-bullying campaign, and that is great. But the message they gave my family with such flippant language about bullying is completely in contradiction with that campaign, and something they should monitor more closely. Words matter. I hope NBC and the NFL will choose them more carefully in the future.

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