HazingPrevention.org and Sigma Nu Fraternity have begun their 2012 #40answers campaign to address hazing. Each day from August 15th through September 24th (the start of National Hazing Prevention Week), they will post a commonly used answer that attempts to justify hazing. Click here for details on how to participate, and look for the hashtag #40answers on Twitter.
Today’s item is – “New members have to earn their way into this group/team/organization.”
This item is ripe for discussion within the context of several items about hazing in NFL Training Camps. Bleacher Report has “Recapping the Best and Worst of NFL Rookie Hazing so Far;” Deadspin has a story on hazing haircuts (somewhat NSFW); and USA Today contributes a slideshow of NFL hazing over the past several years.
What I found most notable about these stories is that with a few exceptions, I have never heard of most of these hazing targets. As an NFL fan (and Fantasy Football player), I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the players in the league. If these unknown players are being targeted for hazing, what does it really have to do with “earning their way onto the team?”
It appears to me that this activity is not hazing (with the intent of bringing people into the group), but is actually bullying with an intent to keep them out. I guess I can understand the threat that these veterans may feel as they are competing for their highly lucrative jobs (without guaranteed contracts). What I don’t understand is why the owners, coaches, and established stars, allow this behavior to continue.
As you see stories about NFL hazing this summer, take a closer look to see who is involved. Are the victims the players with a borderline chance to make the team and take someones job? Are the perpetrators established stars, or are they journeymen players trying to hold on for another year at a greater than half a million dollar job?