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NFL begins meeting with players on changing locker-room culture

Richie Incognito, with Jonathan Martin in preseason. (Wilfredo Lee / AP)
Richie Incognito, with Jonathan Martin in preseason. (Wilfredo Lee / AP)

Change in the culture of the NFL’s locker rooms officially begins today, with the first hourlong session aimed at eliminating harassment and bullying.

The Atlanta Falcons will be the first team to listen to the league’s chief human resources officer and former players as the NFL attempts to eliminate the behavior that resulted in Jonathan Martin leaving the Miami Dolphins because of what an NFL investigation later determined was a pattern of harassment.

Robert Gulliver, the chief HR officer, will meet with Falcons players,’s Peter King writes, and he will be joined by former players Patrick Kerney and Donovin Darius. Every team eventually will hear the presentation.

“We believe the moment is now to really effect change,” Gulliver said. “This is not a Band-Aid from 345 Park Avenue in New York.  This is the chance to start a dialogue about what a more respectful locker-room culture is all about.  While we have rules and policies on the books that talk about the workplace, what is also important is the culture that reinforces the rules and policies.  We believe that a more respectful culture is part of a winning culture.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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