To look at Michigan State University’s Blake Treadwell today, you might figure he’d be the last person anyone would pick on. But that wasn’t the case in elementary school, before he started playing football and grew into a 6 ft. 3 in., 304-pound block of granite. From fourth through sixth grade, when he had trouble communicating with other kids, he came in for a lot of verbal bullying in East Lansing, where his dad was an assistant football coach at MSU. Today Blake is a starting offensive guard for the Spartans and has been named a tri-captain on this year’s team.
Although he doesn’t care to elaborate on the verbal taunts that stung him as a boy, Treadwell says that despite the adage about words not being able to hurt you, that’s not true. What helped him weather the bullying, he says, was his supportive family and a close friend. His advice to young people who experience bullying is to talk with their parents and not keep it in. “ My parents were on top of things,” he told Steve Grinczel, the online columnist for MSUSpartans.com.