So I was wrong about the Yasiel Puig bullying comments by J.P. Howell just going away, as they got picked up by some national outlets and then reporters started asking questions. As it turns out, Howell was not talking about Puig being bullied by teammates, but just bullied by others that don’t know him.
“Dude, I don’t know how it happened,” said Howell, who said an interview he gave while making a Thursday appearance has spun out of control.
In the interview with the Los Angeles Times, it was written that Howell said he saw teammate Yasiel Puig bullied in the Dodgers’ clubhouse. On Friday, Howell insisted that’s not what he said.
“Not in the clubhouse, never by teammates,” he said. “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.”
So basically he was just showing support for Puig against the backlash that has come for him. I guess that got twisted a bit and lacked context.
The Dodgers also felt the need to address the issue and put out a statement.
“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.”
Said Howell: “When I was asked about Puig, I just wanted to use him as an example that not only preschoolers get bullied. It’s a problem in our society, and I just wanted the kids to know not to stay silent, that it’s wrong and you should say something, and it can happen to anybody at any age. It happened to me.”
So they contacted Puig and everything is alright, which is the main thing.
My personal belief was that Puig didn’t seem like the type of personality to take it, for better or worse, as a bullying situation with him might have devolved into an all-out brawl. However, given that we don’t TRULY know any of them, I didn’t want to assume.
Some are saying Howell is just backtracking, but I believe what he’s saying, primarily because I asked a few people who are around the clubhouse and they found the suggestion that Puig was being bullied rather amusing. Not from an appearance perspective like many are suggesting (‘he’s big so he can’t get ganged up on’), but just from how he was treated and the leeway he was given by the team/staff.
Glad this was handled quickly and appropriately by the Dodgers though.