Homarenishiki retired. In all, 10 wrestlers announced their retirement. Bullying and hazing are serious issues in athletics. I’m a little disappointed that there’s not been much confirmed reporting on what happened at the Nishikido heya seeing as how so many of their wrestlers were suddenly out-of-action. It’s difficult for an observer to understand what’s going on, who may have acted improperly. As fans, we want to know that rikishi are not abused and are in a safe environment (though we’d be silly not to expect inter-personal drama as tight-nit as these heya are). We’d also like to know that if wrestlers or heyas act improperly, they will be removed from sumo.
Bullying and hazing are not issues which are unique to sumo. In the US, it’s also been a big issue in education as well. I’m a board member for my kids’ PTA association and it is a serious concern, even in lower elementary grades. People are best served with an open treatment of the issues rather than sweeping individual instances under the rug. It’s important to be up front with what happened and reinforce that this behavior is not acceptable. Without a clear accounting, people don’t really get that message and the behavior continues under the surface until it blows up in a bigger, wider scandal.
On the other side of the coin, without better information, rumors can blow things way out of proportion for what really happened. It may be a more minor issue but without knowing, we’re left to speculate and either way it taints the sport.