The Bleacher Report has a post today celebrating pre-season hazing in the NFL. As expected, they describe it as “usually harmless and all in good fun.”
Since this type of hazing is often justified as being important to team-building, I have to wonder, what is it about an intense pre-season training process (which usually involves living together, eating together, long practices, and a shared goal of developing a strong team) that makes any type of hazing necessary? In reality, the targets of most of this type of hazing activities are rookies and undrafted free agents working their asses off just to make the team. It sure looks to me that what is actually happening is that the established veterans are using bullying as a form of personal entertainment.
My compliments to the Philadelphia Eagles, where Coach Andy Reid has prohibited hazing. I hope he takes the next step and makes the veterans carry their own pads. As Reid described it, “These guys are men,” Reid said Friday. “This is their profession. In today’s football, these rookies need to play right away. I don’t need them looking over their shoulder at things. They need to get in and learn football, not learn the song of their alma mater. I don’t need that.”
Too bad Defensive End Justin Babin didn’t get the message. His quote – “Obviously, coach Reid has a strict no-hazing policy here, but we have our own ways of establishing that hierarchy. I’ll let you figure it out.”