A Rite Of Passage...

Written By Chad Potier
July 31, 2010

So Dez Bryant made a stink this week about not carrying veteran wide receiver, Roy Williams' pads during training camp for the Dallas Cowboys. He again made the news after suffered a high right ankle sprain on the second to last play of Friday's practice, and will be out 4-6 weeks. His comments about not participating in "Rookie Hazing" got me thinking back to my days playing sports and how BIG of a role hazing has on the development of a team and a player.

Definition: haz·ing
1. To persecute or harass with meaningless, difficult, or humiliating tasks.

Some of the meaningless, difficult, or humiliating tasks players on our teams had to do included: singing in the cafeteria, carrying book and pads of upperclassmen, pushing pennies with our noses across cement benches, dressing in drag and preforming skits, and the like. I never saw them as anything other than the upperclassmen doing what had been done to them and I knew I was going to do the same to the incoming freshmen the next year. I asked some former college football players what they thought. Michael Felder, former UNC safety, said "It always helps to know the man playing next to you went through the same thing as you. Guys grow together that way." Rob Harley, former Ohio State safety said "Respectful hazing builds trust, respect, commitment; veterans want to know young guys are willing to take a little "heat" to be on team."

"Respectful Hazing" - that's the whole point. I am not advocating acts of debauchery, but going through some meaningless, difficult, or humiliating tasks, with fellow teammates, only strengthens the bonds of everyone on the team. To me, Dez seemed to be saying he was above that, and I don't think that shows his new team anything positive.

*Note- Thanks to Mike and Rob for their insight.
Mike is a former college football player who still loves the game. He brings the same attention to detail, student of the game approach to his writing that he brought to the field as an undersized scrappy safety for the UNC Tar Heels. You can hear him on the In The Bleachers podcast weekly and read his writting at InTheBleachers.net

Rob was a member of the 2002 National Championship team. He was a three-time letter winner at strong safety and during his time on the team, the Buckeyes went 50-13, winning two Big Ten Championships and a National Championship in 2002. You can see Rob in action on "The Football Fever" on the ABC Sports affiliate in Columbus, OH.

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