Should hazing be accepted as part of pro football?

Football in Grass
Photo by Jayel Aheram via Flickr

“Playing football is a man’s job, and if there’s any weak link, it gets weeded out. It’s the leaders’ job on the team to take care of it,” writes former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Lydon Murtha.

Murtha recently waded into the questions of bullying and hazing in the NFL. “I don’t have a dog in this fight,” he told Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback blog.

“I want that to be very clear. I played offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins from 2009 until the 2012 preseason, when I was released after tearing ligaments in my foot and injuring my back, both requiring surgery. I have since retired, and I’m happily working in the auto industry and living outside of Miami. I went to college at Nebraska with Richie Incognito, and I consider myself friends with him and Jonathan Martin, but I don’t speak with them regularly and I’m not taking sides.”

Boston Globe columnist Christopher Gasper writes the bullying culture in NFL has to stop.

The jocktocracy, full of current and former players, spun into overdrive trying to rationalize and extenuate the alleged actions of Incognito, who has a troubled past that includes being regarded as one of the NFL’s dirtiest players, while reprimanding Martin for breaking the locker room (man) code of silence.

The majority of Martin’s teammates publicly sided with Incognito. One of Martin’s fellow offensive linemen, Tyson Clabo, said Martin needed to act like a man.

“I think if you have a problem with somebody — a legitimate problem with somebody — you should say, ‘I have a problem with this,’ and stand up and be a man,” Clabo said Wednesday. “I don’t think what happened is necessary.”

Today’s Question: Should hazing be accepted as part of football?

  • fritz

    “Hazing” shouldn’t be a part of ANYTHING.

  • Pearly

    just another nail in the coffin of what was the NFL

  • PaulJ

    If it was called ‘testing”, a reasonable amount has to be accepted in order locate boundaries. You can’t have unqualified usurpers running things but you have to let the cream rise to the top.

  • Gary F

    I watched the interview of Incognito the other night.

    I’m still amazed that the “N” word is so part of their vocabulary. Both from white guys and especially blacks.

    I know someone who got to bring their junior high age boys on the field for a Chicago Bears game. He said he almost wanted to leave at half. The swearing, the trash talk, the crude talk to women on the sidelines was horrific. Not a place for teenage boys.

    But when your star running back has more illegitimate children than guys in the NBA, or guys who are in a run with the law, the NFL has more problems than just bullying.

  • James

    First of all, this issue is not NPR/MPR worthy. The NFL is a mess. Hazing is the least of its issues.

    On the topic of hazing.

    I was hazed as a freshman in high school. It was called Initiation Day.

    I was hazed as a freshman in college. It was called Frosh Week.

    I was hazed at my first (engineering) job out of college. Each and every one of the new hires was referred to as a f***ing trainee for about a year, and we got some nasty assignments.

    I was hazed as an associate at the professional firm where I worked. (It happened to be a consulting firm, but it just as well could have been a law firm or an investment bank or an academic institution.) Until you make partner (or tenured professor) at places like that, there is unrelenting abuse.

    Unless things have changed a lot in the last 20 years, hazing is very common. The NFL, and this individual, probably takes it to excess. However, I wonder if it is any more excessive than the US Marines or our other branches of the military.

    To repeat, there are much bigger issues to discuss than hazing in the NFL.

  • david

    It sure seems counter productive. If my business relied on a group of people working together as a “team” to complete a common “goal”, anyone acting in a way that weakened the team spirit wouldn’t have a job for very long. At least that’s how it works in every other successful business.

  • Sue de Nim

    The question presupposes that (American) football should be accepted.

  • Elijah the Tishbite

    Footbaal demands all kinds of unholy sacrifice, and its moral teachings are are in error. Its devotees are willing to sacrifice young men’s brain and bone health in their temple rituals, and their dignity behind the scenes. It glorifies combat and teaches that violence is an appropriate tool in reaching one’s goal. When will we realize that this devotion to Footbaal is bad for us and reject it?

  • JQP

    Hazing is proof that an organization is incapable of self-management.