August 11, 2010
It seems to be a commonly accepted practice around the league, and it seems like most teams either condone it, or are at least willing to look the other way.
Not all teams, though. There's at least one team out there that doesn't let rookie hazing happen. Would it change your mind at all about hazing if you knew that this haze-free team was an annual fixture in the playoffs and one of the league's model franchises for stability and consistency?
"You've seen all the highlights with the rookie hazing and haircuts," Manning said Tuesday. "We don't do that around here, because we don't treat the guys like rookies. We expect those guys to play this year and to play well."
"We're probably not very patient," Manning said. "We don't cut them a whole lot of slack. If they're on the team, we expect them to know the offense and to be in there. That's why we treat them all like veterans."
So that's another way to go with rookies. Clearly, it's a policy that works well for the Colts, and that's great. Whatever works for the ballclub.
I'm going to stop short of believing, though, that the Colts are good, year-in, year-out, because they don't shave obscene things into the heads of rookies. Call me crazy, but I choose to believe that the fact that they have one of the all-time greats at quarterback is a much bigger factor.
Hazing is what it is: a juvenile activity that amuses the veterans and subjects the rookies to some mild humiliation. As long as it stops there, and no one's physically hurt, or made to feel like an outcast or an inferior species, I don't see the harm. As long as it's done with a modicum of responsibility, respect and common sense, then I'm fine with taking a "boys will be boys" approach.
Eschewing hazing all together may be the more mature approach, but I can't think of any examples where it's either really helped or really hurt a team.
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