Do Big Muscles Make You Immune to Bullying?

6-foot-5, 312 pounds.

That’s the height and weight of Jonathan Martin, the Miami Dolphins offensive lineman who claims he was threatened and harassed by teammates.

There’s a common-sense idea that having big muscles will protect you from bullying. “You want someone kicking sand in your face?” That’s the incentive my grandpop offered for my floundering adolescent weight-training regimen.

I guess it was an easy solution back in the day. Someone’s bothering you; punch them in the face.

But I think it’s pretty well understood today that being ripped isn’t really a protection against harassment.

Look at Martin’s case. Even though his alleged bullies are massive human beings who spend their days systematically brutalizing one another, the story isn’t really about the physical.

But Martin’s size could come into play if he decides to bring the case to court, according to Tamara Lave, a law professor at the University of Miami.

She told NPR that a jury might take Martin’s complaints more seriously because of his size, and because he’s a football player, who are typically thought of as super-tough.

“The fact that you have a 300-pound man who feels so threatened and uncomfortable that he leaves, that’s an indication of how serious it was,” she said.

It’s an interesting idea: his physique may end up being a weapon against bullying, not because he threw punches, but because of our stereotype that someone tall and muscular could normally resolve the situation by violence if they wanted to.

Watch “AMERICA with Jorge Ramos” on Friday at 8 p.m. ET for a discussion on Jonathan Martin.

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