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    Default Tiger pitcher Coke tells federal panel how he was bullied as a child




    It takes guts to testify on embarrassing stuff like this. Maybe Phil Coke will give some bullied children a little hope and make them feel less isolated because of his admission. Good guy of the day award for sure.

    Tiger pitcher Coke tells federal panel how he was bullied as a child | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com

    April 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm
    Tiger pitcher Coke tells federal panel how he was bullied as a child

    By George Hunter
    The Detroit News


    Detroit — Long before Major League hitters targeted him, Detroit Tiger relief pitcher Phil Coke was harassed by bullies.

    "I was one of the smaller guys in elementary school," said Coke. "The other kids messed with me about various things. My last name is Coke, so (being called) 'Coca-Cola' was a constant."

    Coke was among the panelists who testified Monday at a hearing for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence in Detroit, held at Wayne State University. The task force is part of the Attorney General's Defending Childhood Initiative, which aims to prevent and reduce children's exposure to violence. The task force is expected to present policy recommendations in a report to Attorney General Holder later this year.

    Coke said he was often provoked into fighting by bullies.

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    Phil's story is incredibly soft compared to others, especially these days.
    Retired. Thanks for the entertainment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonjd View Post
    Phil's story is incredibly soft compared to others, especially these days.
    Good thing he didn't want to go to Dartmouth
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    Getting called Coca-Cola isn't exactly the worst thing. A lot of people have nicknames based on their names that are far, far worse than that. Not all teasing should be considered bullying, there is kind of a non-threatening way of teasing too. I got teased a little bit about my last name (rhymes with Polar, so they called me Polar Bear). I didn't like it, but I never felt threatened by it. It's like a 7 year old kid getting arrested for sexual assault because on a dare he went up and kissed a girl on the cheek. I mean, sexual assault? really?
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    damn cry babies....toughen up!!....
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    Quote Originally Posted by slim pickens View Post
    damn cry babies....toughen up!!....
    At one time or another, doesn't everyone get picked on and doesn't everyone pick on someone else? There's a difference between teasing and terrorizing. Unless things have really changed since we were kids, I don't know why bullying has become the great social injustice of our time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shabba4detroit View Post
    At one time or another, doesn't everyone get picked on and doesn't everyone pick on someone else? There's a difference between teasing and terrorizing. Unless things have really changed since we were kids, I don't know why bullying has become the great social injustice of our time.
    I think it relates to the number of kids on psych medications, child suicides, and mass murders like Columbine. These are things we never heard of when we were kids. Back then somebody hit you, you hit back, though. It was expected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shabba4detroit View Post
    At one time or another, doesn't everyone get picked on and doesn't everyone pick on someone else? There's a difference between teasing and terrorizing. Unless things have really changed since we were kids, I don't know why bullying has become the great social injustice of our time.
    No they do not. I was never picked on nor did I EVER pick on someone else.
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    I also think that social media adds a whole new element to the issue as there have been cases of humiliating photos/videos posted on youtube and facebook.. not to mention the presence of webcams so that people can be caught in embarrassing scenarios more easily than before.

    Part of it may be that since we hear things on the internet/24 hour news these days, that we might be hearing about things that would have gone under the radar before, or only been known within each community.

    Or it could be that the medical profession has come to the conclusion that the effects of bullying are far more damaging than previously thought, in combination with a greater tendency to talk about it rather than suffer in silence.

    I agree with MCS.. there are far worse things to be called than Coca Cola. And frankly there are times (not always, depends on the situation) when a child is better finding a way to deal with a bully. I remember one case where I stood up to a bully and we ended up becoming friends shortly afterwards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melody View Post
    I think it relates to the number of kids on psych medications, child suicides, and mass murders like Columbine. These are things we never heard of when we were kids. Back then somebody hit you, you hit back, though. It was expected.
    Maybe if we all weren't so medicated, and we taught kids to hit back, so many wouldn't be on psychotropics and wouldn't be killing themselves. As for Columbine-esque incidents, while tragic, are anomalies at best.
    ‎"For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."

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    Quote Originally Posted by John_Brian_K View Post
    No they do not. I was never picked on nor did I EVER pick on someone else.
    Really. You never said or heard the words "Neener neener boo boo, stick your head in poo poo." Then allow me the pleasure of being the first.
    ‎"For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."

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    Quote Originally Posted by shabba4detroit View Post
    Maybe if we all weren't so medicated, and we taught kids to hit back, so many wouldn't be on psychotropics and wouldn't be killing themselves. As for Columbine-esque incidents, while tragic, are anomalies at best.
    Hitting back, while enjoyable for those that don't end up just getting the crap beat out of them afterwords, is a pretty useless bit of advise for many kids that are bullied. Blaming medication and a preference to avoid escalating fights strikes me as just another way to blame the victim, which, in my experience, remains the standard response when it comes to bullying still today. What, you are getting pushed into a locker door every day by a guy twice your size? Just punch him and everything will fix itself. And if it doesn't the good news is he's probably much older than you so after a year or two he'll be gone and you won't have to deal with it anymore.

    Columbine-esque incidents are anomalies. Teen suicide isn't.

    With all that said, what Coke describes in the quoted text above is not what I would describe as bullying.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonjd View Post
    Phil's story is incredibly soft compared to others, especially these days.
    You were obviously the bully and not the one being bullied.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shabba4detroit View Post
    Maybe if we all weren't so medicated, and we taught kids to hit back, so many wouldn't be on psychotropics and wouldn't be killing themselves. As for Columbine-esque incidents, while tragic, are anomalies at best.
    I don't disagree. You know, I learned how to stand up for myself by fighting with my brothers over toys at a very young age. Then when we were a little older and able to be outside more without supervision, we fought with the neighbor kids. LOL It was general knowledge that if you hit someone they would hit you back and that yes, that hurts. And kids learned to look out for each other. I might thump one of my brothers, but let me tell you, nobody else was allowed to.

    Kids these days are supervised every minute of the day, controlled, segregated into groups who are the same age. I think it's contrary to nature to teach little kids, "If somebody hurts you, go tell on them. It's a BAD thing to defend yourself." They're also allowed to develop sassy little mouths that invite butt kicking, but protected from the consequence.

    And the one being picked on, typically the one who actually CARES about these manmade rules, is just naturally going to erupt eventually. Only so much of that one should be expected to take.

    EDIT: I'm not suggesting a free for all. Just, perhaps, giving kids more opportunity to learn certain truths naturally.
    Last edited by Melody; 04-30-2012 at 03:37 PM.

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    Yes, it does sound like someone who had been bullied, you have to look for the subtle inferences. "The other kids messed with me" tells me it was a group against him alone. He was often provoked into fights.
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    It's not as simple as just hitting someone back. If your brother or one of the neighborhood kid hits you, you can hit them back and maybe something will be accomplished. If you're a small kid and a group of larger kids is bullying you, that's a different story. Hitting back might get you beat up worse.

    Also, I agree with those who say social media plays a role. It's pretty easy for a large group of kids to terrorize another kid on a computer. Some of them can even do it anonymously. In the old days, it all had to be done face to face which is a lot more difficult.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melody View Post
    I don't disagree. You know, I learned how to stand up for myself by fighting with my brothers over toys at a very young age. Then when we were a little older and able to be outside more without supervision, we fought with the neighbor kids. LOL It was general knowledge that if you hit someone they would hit you back and that yes, that hurts. And kids learned to look out for each other. I might thump one of my brothers, but let me tell you, nobody else was allowed to.

    Kids these days are supervised every minute of the day, controlled, segregated into groups who are the same age. I think it's contrary to nature to teach little kids, "If somebody hurts you, go tell on them. It's a BAD thing to defend yourself." They're also allowed to develop sassy little mouths that invite butt kicking, but protected from the consequence.

    And the one being picked on, typically the one who actually CARES about these manmade rules, is just naturally going to erupt eventually. Only so much of that one should be expected to take.

    EDIT: I'm not suggesting a free for all. Just, perhaps, giving kids more opportunity to learn certain truths naturally.
    I don't think a butt kicking is the only possible consequence that is reasonable for someone who uses a "sassy little mouth." If on the one hand you are supervising every minute of a kids day and on the other hand letting them talk back or say whatever they want to anyone else then yes, obviously you are doing a pretty piss poor job as a parent and you are part of the problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by qsilvr2531 View Post
    I don't think a butt kicking is the only possible consequence that is reasonable for someone who uses a "sassy little mouth." If on the one hand you are supervising every minute of a kids day and on the other hand letting them talk back or say whatever they want to anyone else then yes, obviously you are doing a pretty piss poor job as a parent and you are part of the problem.
    Certainly not. But let's make it clear that not all, even most, bullying is with fists. Often as not, the fists come out because of frustration and the victim ends up in the most trouble.

    Here's an example: My two oldest were 20 months apart. Older a big boy, younger a very dainty little girl. He was getting in trouble for hitting and taking toys from little sister. But what I discovered was that she was manipulating situations and frustrating him. For example, grabbing a toy he was playing with then crying that he took it from her. She'd accuse him of hitting her when it may not have actually happened, or sometimes would hit him first in the hope he'd get in trouble for hitting her back. In many ways, she was being the bully. But you just never know what happened for sure unless you saw it yourself.

    What I had to do was fall back and quit defending her as much. When a dispute would occur, they'd get a warning to work it out. "I don't care who started it. I want it to stop. Right now." Typically, the object of the dispute got taken away from both of them.

    So one morning I'm half dozing in bed and hear that they are up and starting to fight over which Saturday morning cartoon to watch. It was escalating to the point where I was about to get up and send them both back to bed when I heard one of them say, "Shhh... we're going to get on mommy's last nerve." Then they worked out an acceptable schedule together.

    If I jumped up and "fixed" it at the first sign of conflict, or forbade them to argue a little both of them would have ended up getting a really wrong message that might have resulted in having problems when they were older and needed these conflict resolution skills and to understand the natural consequences of their behaviors. I didn't want my son to be a big bully, and by the like I didn't want my daughter to have manipulative behavior reinforced. Thing is, we had a little of both going on. And it's a much easier thing to teach them as preschoolers than as junior high students.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melody View Post
    Certainly not. But let's make it clear that not all, even most, bullying is with fists. Often as not, the fists come out because of frustration and the victim ends up in the most trouble.

    Here's an example: My two oldest were 20 months apart. Older a big boy, younger a very dainty little girl. He was getting in trouble for hitting and taking toys from little sister. But what I discovered was that she was manipulating situations and frustrating him. For example, grabbing a toy he was playing with then crying that he took it from her. She'd accuse him of hitting her when it may not have actually happened, or sometimes would hit him first in the hope he'd get in trouble for hitting her back. In many ways, she was being the bully. But you just never know what happened for sure unless you saw it yourself.

    What I had to do was fall back and quit defending her as much. When a dispute would occur, they'd get a warning to work it out. "I don't care who started it. I want it to stop. Right now." Typically, the object of the dispute got taken away from both of them.

    So one morning I'm half dozing in bed and hear that they are up and starting to fight over which Saturday morning cartoon to watch. It was escalating to the point where I was about to get up and send them both back to bed when I heard one of them say, "Shhh... we're going to get on mommy's last nerve." Then they worked out an acceptable schedule together.

    If I jumped up and "fixed" it at the first sign of conflict, or forbade them to argue a little both of them would have ended up getting a really wrong message that might have resulted in having problems when they were older and needed these conflict resolution skills and to understand the natural consequences of their behaviors. I didn't want my son to be a big bully, and by the like I didn't want my daughter to have manipulative behavior reinforced. Thing is, we had a little of both going on. And it's a much easier thing to teach them as preschoolers than as junior high students.
    I don't disagree with anything you've said as far as teaching your children conflict resolution skills though I do like the juxtaposition of criticizing over supervision of kids while at the same time noting that because you weren't supervising every minute of their life you weren't able to determine what actually happened. However, I don't think the typical problems with bullying are that teachers and parents are too quick to jump in and prevent kids from solving the problems themselves. My experience both when I was in school and now having young kids in school is that bullying is something everyone makes a point to say is a bad thing but is ignored when it actually happens. That also sends a really wrong message to kids.
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    Well, during that incident they were very young so in earshot while not in my direct line of vision. But it taught me not to involve myself until it got out of hand, often pretending not to hear things and let the kids work it out. What was I THINKING earlier that being angry or defending yourself was somehow a bad thing? Sometimes you have to go through that phase to get to the reconciliation part and both retain a measure of pride.

    But I guess I'm a little unconventional in that name calling received a harsher punishment than fighting.

    Honestly, the worst bullying I saw at school and elsewhere (ball teams, for example) usually had an adult as the ringleader or setting the example. And they were using almost entirely words.
    Last edited by Melody; 05-01-2012 at 12:04 AM.

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    I don't think it's bad for anyone to have their McFly moment...After being teased and bullied mercilessly, I'm walking off the school bus to hear another derogatory name...I could have kept walking, but something in me that day snapped, and I spun around and punched them in the face, glasses went flying...the mouths of the other kids dropped...as I walked off the bus and the "victim" was squealing, the bus driver feinged ignorance and claimed she saw nothing, but winked at me as I started down the bus steps. In this day and age, I probably would have been expelled for the rest of the year, put on medication and forced to go to anger management classes. Nobody ever picked on me again and I definitely carried myself differently after that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melody View Post
    Well, during that incident they were very young so in earshot while not in my direct line of vision. But it taught me not to involve myself until it got out of hand, often pretending not to hear things and let the kids work it out. What was I THINKING earlier that being angry or defending yourself was somehow a bad thing? Sometimes you have to go through that phase to get to the reconciliation part and both retain a measure of pride.

    But I guess I'm a little unconventional in that name calling received a harsher punishment than fighting.

    Honestly, the worst bullying I saw at school and elsewhere (ball teams, for example) usually had an adult as the ringleader or setting the example. And they were using almost entirely words.
    I totally agree with your last sentence, though I think that is one reason bullying is a a serious problem.

    I do want to make clear that I'm not in any way criticizing your parenting. I don't think parents need to watch kids every second they are awake and I totally agree that it's important for kids to learn how to disagree with other kids without having an adult solve the problem for them (your example of taking the toy away from both kids is a great one if done consistently).

    For me it depends on the name calling and the fighting. I'm not a fan of hard line rules for that sort of thing.
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    I think it also should be noted that for kids under the age of 9 or something, the name calling is likely going to be limited to a play on the individual's name, like Coca-Cola, because that is an obvious thing to make fun of and kids that age usually aren't too witty or subtle.

    But I don't really think it is the name that hurts, it is the attitude / tone of voice paired with ganging up factor that makes it crappy for the young kid. I don't think too many kids want to be the picked-on kid, nor do I think many are emotionally secure / mature enough to essentially say, 'being called coca cola really isn't insulting, so I don't care what they say'. So even though it very well may be a mildly insulting name to be called, I think it is quite possible a kid receives it a very different way.

    I think in a one on one situation, standing up to a bully can work. But I don't think it is uncommon for bullies to gang up on a kid either.
    Last edited by Mr. Bigglesworth; 05-01-2012 at 10:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by qsilvr2531 View Post
    I do want to make clear that I'm not in any way criticizing your parenting.
    Ha ha! I'm not thin skinned. No worries. Besides, my kids are all adults. Said son has his 30th birthday in a few weeks. I like the adults they turned out to be!

    PS: And I'm well aware of how much of that fact is due entirely to the grace of God on a dummy like me. Particularly the oldest. First children are always your lab rats. LOL
    Last edited by Melody; 05-01-2012 at 07:07 PM.

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