I don’t even know what to make of this. Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times writes about how Yasiel Puig was bullied inside the Dodger clubhouse in a recent article in the L.A. Times. Relief pitcher J.P. Howell broke the silence in an interview after delivering an anti-bullying message to preschool children in Los Angeles. Apparently Howell responded by telling Shaikin that he noticed Puig being “bullied” by certain players within the Dodger clubhouse. I have no idea what exactly being bullied entails in this story but it sounds fishy to me. Who would bully Puig?
Howell originally told Shaikin that Puig had been bullied within the clubhouse, but later recanted by saying that it was actually the media and fans who were bullying Puig. Howell and his wife were relaying an anti-bullying message by reading a book to some preschoolers in Los Angeles. Howell was bullied as a kid and wanted to get the message out to the kids. Bullying is not ok, no matter who it is.
Howell mentioned the pressure within the clubhouse to party and drink late into the night, which reminds me of Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Carl Crawford all partying at a downtown Miami nightclub with Lebron James during a series in Miami last August. That little episode resulted in Puig being late to the ballpark and being fined by manager Don Mattingly. But Howell goes on to speculate more about the bullying of Yasiel Puig…..
“The guy is such a champion,” Howell said. “He has such a big heart. Sometimes he acts like a jerk, but that is his defense mechanism. It’s not really him.
“Someday, he is not going to be 22. He’s not going to be like that. I love the guy. I hope he never changes, just maybe matures.”
Howell changed his statement in a later interview with Ken Gurnick by saying…
“I was asked if Puig had been bullied and I said yes, but I meant by fans and media and people on the outside that don’t know him. Never in the clubhouse. Are you kidding? People early in the season said our clubhouse wouldn’t have chemistry, and it turned out to be an awesome clubhouse — everybody got along.”
This is in light of some kind of recent Miami Dolphin NFL bullying scandal. Of course I could care less about the NFL, but this has brought bullying into the forefront in recent weeks.
The Dodgers released a statement about the bullying situation….“Bullying is an issue we take very seriously. We’ve discussed this with Yasiel and he has assured us that he is comfortable with the clubhouse environment as well as his teammates, coaches and support staff. As an organization, we will continue to be proactive in monitoring what goes on in and around our clubhouse.”
As someone who was bullied quite frequently in grade school, I can tell you it is not ok. I understand what Puig is going through more than most people. Nobody deserves to be bullied no matter who you are. Yasiel Puig is a person with real feelings. Nobody should be made to feel intimidated or uncomfortable. I hate bullies, they are my mortal enemies.
Howell, and his wife read a homemade book about a monkey named Dangles to the kids at the Children’s Bureau Preschool at Magnolia Place in Los Angeles. The book talks about the dangers and repercussions of bullying. Howell’s wife Heather wrote the book herself.