Just weeks before the National Football League (NFL) regular season kicks off, rookies are making headlines as the targets of hazing at training camps. Dallas Cowboys newcomer Dez Bryant took a stand against rookie hazing, refusing to carry veteran teammates’ shoulder pads after practice.
Not long after, photos surfaced of rookie Tim Tebow’s crazy new hairdo after teammates left just a halo of hair around his head. Why? Solely because he is a newcomer to both the NFL and Denver Broncos this season.
And hazing is not new to the NFL — typical activities range from carrying equipment, to crazy haircuts, and even getting taped to the goal post.
While some teams consider this old tradition that is nothing more than fun and games, others see it as a potentially dangerous situation. Anti-hazing groups bring up a viable question: does NFL hazing promote the idea of hazing to college and high school students?
Certain NFL players are often role models to people of all ages. When professional athletes are seen subjecting their younger teammates to hazing — defined as “subjection to harassment or ridicule” — teenagers and young adults may find it acceptable to do the same.
Hazing is a practice that occurs regularly on college campuses, causing both physical and mental harm — and even death in some cases. Common college hazing rituals involve excessive drinking and other potentially harmful situations.
Looking at the damage hazing has caused in the past, many question if the activities listed above truly help new teammates bond with team veterans, or if they are simply not worth the risk.
While not all NFL teams take part in hazing, it appears plenty of teams still subject rookies to the humiliation. If you feel NFL hazing sends the wrong message, sign this petition and explain why you think it’s time to put an end to this potentially dangerous tradition.
photo credit: LenDale White twitpic of Tim Tebow's haircut