The days of Dallas Cowboys rookies carrying pads for veterans and getting taped to goal posts are over thanks to a recent ban on the juvenile rituals by coach Jason Garrett.
"The young guys are part of our team," Garrett said to reporters, "and they certainly need to get themselves acclimated in a lot of different ways, and our veteran players are in charge of welcoming them to the NFL in a very positive way."
"There's not going to be anything demeaning in any way that a rookie has to do. We don't believe in that."
An admirable sentiment, to be sure. When rookies like Dez Bryant last year or Tyron Smith this year are drafted and expected to contribute immediately, having them serve as errand boys after practice doesn't fit in with the "we're all in this together" mentality. Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio made a similar ban with his team.
There's only one problem with Garrett's new rule of equality: hazing is still very much alive and well in Big D and the champion of the cause is none other than the coach himself. Earlier this month, Garrett issued a decree that all rookies, from first-round picks to undrafted free agents, would not have the Cowboys star on their helmets until they earned the privilege.
"This team has been around 51 years, and it's a great tradition," he said at the time. "You have to earn the right to wear that star, and we're very clear with the players about that. Just because you sign with the Dallas Cowboys doesn't mean you earned that thing yet."
Hazing isn't just carrying pads or getting a crazy haircut or getting ice water dumped on your head. Denying rookies the same star worn by everyone else on the team (including new free-agent acquisitions who have been with Dallas for the same amount of time as the rookies) is less juvenile and humiliating but an equal mark of initiation. And no amount of coaching double-speak is going to change that.