Bullying is not an issue in the Heat locker room

USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra shared some thoughts about bullying and the situation surrounding the Miami Dolphins.

For the past week the Miami Dolphins have made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Offensive tackle, Jonathan Martin's abrupt departure from the team allegedly due to misconduct of his own teammates puts the spotlight on bullying, a subject matter that most commonly associate with school children.

"We joke and laugh. We get on each other and we're like brothers around here, but it never gets beyond what it's supposed to be."
- LeBron James

Following the Miami Heat's victory against the Washington Wizards Sunday night, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were asked about the subject matter in the locker room.

For James, he simply could not relate to players being bullied by teammates.

"For us, we're a close group, I couldn't imagine that happening," he said. "We joke and laugh. We get on each other and we're like brothers around here, but it never gets beyond what it's supposed to be."

Wade shared similar feelings toward the issue and thinks it can be used as a lesson to kids.

"As teammates, we spend a lot of time together," Wade said. "We're on each other a lot in this locker room, and if we felt someone didn't like it or couldn't handle it, we'd have to back off.

"In here, we're all about having fun. We want everyone to feel comfortable. We like to say everyone is fair game here. But, yeah, it happens, and I think it's also a lesson also for kids, it's not just when you're young. It happens when you're older, as well."

Fox Sports reported that Martin, who is Standford-educated and the son of two Harvard-educated lawyers was on the receiving end of consistent abuse that included personal and family insults and the nickname of "Big Weirdo."

Chris Bosh empathizes with Martin and can appreciate what it's like to be different as he spoke of the reported hazing incidents prior to the Heat's matchup against the Brooklyn Nets last Friday night.

"You know what? It's difficult to fit into society sometimes, in that situation, especially in sports," Bosh said. "Not everybody understands. In this case, people will give you a rough time for that."

Head coach Erik Spoelstra, also chimed in with his thoughts.

"For us," he said, "we know in our locker room we have some strong, dynamic, unique personalities. And probably to fit into our locker room, you have to be different, fit in in your own way. You have to be confident.

"But we embrace whoever it is, and whatever their individual characteristics are, and we understand that they're different."

Spoelstra also said there are no issues with hazing in the Heat's locker room.

"No, but you have to have thick skin to be in our locker room," he said. "Guys are allowed to be themselves. I'm not trying to change personalities, but in terms of culture, philosophy, discipline, we're unbending in those areas. But within those parameters, bringing in your own, individual personality helps bring some interest to a long regular season."

As of Sunday night, the Dolphins have suspended starting right guard Richie Incognito indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team as the team, the NFL and the NFL Players Association review his role in the harassment of Martin.

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