'Champions Against Bullying' event takes aim at bullies

Posted: Updated:
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Anti-bullying is a big topic at schools these days, especially with the expansion of technology and social media.

This week, a relevant and timely Champions Against Bullying event will be taking place at the Verve Lounge at the US Airways Center.

It will happen Friday, March 27, right before the Suns game. It's being put on by the nonprofit Linking Sports and Communities (linkingsports.org)

Champions Against Bullying is also being featured in the new quarterly Magazine, Arizona's Voice. The mission is to get more parents, kids and teachers behind this movement towards empathy, embracing differences, and honoring kids and athlete leaders who create healthy social cultures in school.

A University of Virginia study directly linked bullying with children dropping out of school. Schools with high bullying rates also had high dropout rates (29 percent above average). Linking Sports & Communities (LSC)'s mission is to encourage student athletes to stay in school, lead healthy lifestyles and be financially responsible.

So in 2015, one of LSC's campaigns will be to reduce bullying in Arizona, which ranks 43rd in graduation rates in the US. It is entitled "CUT the BULLying."

Athletes are often accused of bullying non-athletes. and are also subjects of hazing and bullying by other athletes. There will be workshops, seminars, activities and events to be held throughout the year to address both sides of this important issue.

On Tuesday's Good Morning Arizona, we talked to Nick Lowery, former Chiefs kicker, about the campaign.

He says technology has made bullying easier. "Kids are using texting," he says. "Rather than looking you in the eye, developing rules of engagement and communication and social skills that develop by talking.

"There are stories every day about cyber-bullying leading to suicide," he continues. "So we're really interested in helping people understand the conditions under which this happens, and the consequences. Mostly it's about empathy. Make sure kids have that sense of empathy. And that starts with athletes."

One big-name athlete joining the anti-bullying eeffortis former NBA player Eddie Johnson.

Considered one of the greatest pure jump shooters to ever play in the NBA, Eddie Johnson played for seventeen years for six NBA teams: Kansas City/Sacramento Kings, Seattle Supersonics, Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets, and, of course, our very own Phoenix Suns.

Eddie decided early in his career that public speaking was a serious transitional career he wanted to pursue and after numerous internships, radio and television appearances, he developed the experience to immediately transition to the public sector after his basketball career ended.

National commentating, philanthropic work and motivational speaking seemed like the perfect career to balance staying at home to help raise his two young children. Eddie is currently a broadcaster for Phoenix Suns games.

LINKING SPORTS & COMMUNITIES LLC

5025 N Central Ave, Ste 259, Phoenix, AZ 85012

Phone: 602-763-9900

E-Mail: info@linkingsports.org

http://www.linkingsports.org