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SEC football players join forces to support bullying victim

Rachel Baribeau, SEC players fight bullying
COURTESY OF RACHEL BARIBEAU

In my #ChangingtheNarrative teachings, I tell the players to use their platform, to not look away, to get involved. I tell these young men that the world needs them, especially when it is messy. I tell them to be a king, in every facet of their life, not just on the football field.

The men I reached out to are busy with classes and offseason conditioning or prepping for the NFL Scouting Combine and the draft. They weren’t obligated to help me or the bullied girl, whom none of them know. (I think it’s important to note that when they made the videos, I did not think I would write about it. The players did this out of the goodness of their heart. The idea of writing a story about this has been cleared with them.)

“I’m sorry that that happened,” Auburn safety Tray Mathews said to the victim as part of his video. “I honestly don’t know why kids pick on other kids when we’re all created the same, in God’s image. I saw a picture of you, and you’re very beautiful.”

From Ole Miss guard Javon Patterson, “I’m torn by the story that Rachel told me. When I was growing up, my mother told me that I should treat a woman as I treat my mother. That stuck with me for a long time. God has a plan for you.”

This isn’t about achieving fame and fortune or placing a spotlight on themselves. This is solely about trying to make a difference, and that made all the difference in the world to the girl, her mother and to me. It will to the bullies, as well; they just do not know it yet.

“It’s not cool to make fun of people,” Auburn receiver Darius Slayton said, in part, to the bullies. “It’s not cool to make people feel less about themselves. Don’t do that to people because you never know what someone is going through. Imagine if you’re in their shoes. Would you want someone doing those things to you, saying those things to you?”

One of Slayton’s Auburn teammates, Tre’ Williams, shared this surprising story.

“I was bullied as well, believe it or not, I was bullied when I was younger,” Williams said. “First of all, you was created in our heavenly father’s image. He created you. Everything about you is what our lord and savior created.”

Another Auburn Tiger, Austin Golson, also shared a message:

But there is more. Consider this: The person who first reached out for help, for advice, was the step-mom of the main bully. Stop for a moment to ponder how powerful that is. She didn’t sweep his actions under the rug, knowing how poorly those actions would reflect on her.  She didn’t turn a blind eye and hope the problem went away. She grabbed the bull by the horns, determined to teach her son a lesson and deter future behavior like this – or potentially worse.

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