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Rookie Hazing

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#1 Pius Jefferson

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 02:23 AM

With what's going on in Miami do the repercussions possibly carry over into other sports like major league baseball? Most of the hazing seems fairly harmless. I do wonder if teams sometimes cross the line between fun and humiliating with some of the outfits rookies have to wear.

#2 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 02:30 AM

It shouldn't. The Miami instance is plain old harassment and racism, it goes above and beyond any rookie "hazing"

#3 mike wants wins

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:09 AM

Hazing is a stupid relic of a time gone by. Why can't adults just be adults in the work place? I'd love to see it gone, frankly.
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#4 twinscowboysbulls

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 09:05 AM

Hazing is a stupid relic of a time gone by. Why can't adults just be adults in the work place? I'd love to see it gone, frankly.


The Twins and baseball in general do Rookie "initiation" the right way IMO. Baseball isn't a sport completely filled with testoterone loaded egotistical meat-heads. The Twins have the rookies do a dress up day in a costume, completely harmless. They also have the rookie bullpen guy carry a lady-like or child-like back pack to the bullpen. These are in no way, shape or form considered bullying or hazing. They are helping the young player learn about humility and welcoming him onto the team. I personally think it's awesome and would love to make 300k+ and dress up for one day in a costume and carry a "Pretty Little Pony" backpack out to Glen Perkins.

Obviously, these are the only things we see or hear about, but I can say quite confidently that a baseball locker room and a football locker room are quite different atmospheres. Can anyone imagine Brad Radke slandering Torii Hunter when he came up to the Twins? I can't. Blasphemy.

#5 Rosterman

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 09:07 AM

From carrying a "My Little Pony" backpack to the bullpen to stealing clothes at the end of a roadtrip. May be cute fun and all, but like the pies in the face and dumping the gatorade cooler, it isn't really necessary in a profession where people are so-called professionals. There is a fine line these days between hazing, bullying and jokesters (pranksters).
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#6 mike wants wins

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 09:16 AM

In virtually no other business do new employees have to do that stuff. I guess I don't understand why they need to in sports. It isn't about having fun, because it is only imposed on rookies.

What Incognito did is inexcusable, but I find the argument about building humility and all that stuff to be silliness. Others will disagree. But we don't do that to our new employees, not at any of the companies I have worked for.
Lighten up Francis....

#7 TheLeviathan

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 09:32 AM

As long as we all agree to stop calling it "bullying" and call it what it actually is (harassment) - I'm fine with that. I'm so sick of that term being watered down and misused.

#8 B Richard

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 11:24 AM

What happened in Miami isn't really "hazing" in the traditional sense. Like Levi says right above, it's harassment. Harassment has no part in any league.

"Hazing", to a certain extent, does. I have absolutely no problem with it, so long as it doesn't devolve into harassment.

Such hazing occurs in many work environments actually. Even on the Supreme Court, it is the most newly appointed member's job to bring the other Justices coffee and make sure certain items are in order. This is not uncommon in many offices. In this way, hazing helps acclimate individuals into a new environment and builds a sense of identity. It often causes no harm at all.

Sometimes certain individuals take hazing too far and it becomes harassment- this is despicable. I have no problem with hazing so long as it is not used as a sort of "front" for harassment. It often does not. When it does, it is absolutely despicable. It is incumbent upon certain sources of authority in any work environment to monitor such behavior (in the case of the Dolphins, coaches clearly fell short in not listening to Martin).

In sum-- hazing is not inherently evil. To condemn it as such is shallow. Harassment, on the other hand, is always wrong.
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#9 ashburyjohn

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 12:16 PM

As long as we all agree to stop calling it "bullying"


Really? Between the transcript of that phone message, and the allegations of huge sums of money being demanded, this sounds like someone's lunch money being taken on the playground, on a grownup scale. Bullying seems like the right word to me.

Harassment is when you can't get the other guy to stop. Bullying is when you find you have practically no choice but to say yes, or fight.

Persistence, versus intimidation.

Edited by ashburyjohn, 05 November 2013 - 12:35 PM.


#10 twinsnorth49

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 01:20 PM

There are always idiots like Incognito who take things too far. For the most part hazing is an innocent tradition that is really not much more than a fraternal club initiation, a right of passage.

Are they silly? Sure they are, but they exist in a workplace inhabited by a select, elite group of individuals who are never really asked to "grow up". They do, after all, play children's games for a living.

#11 PseudoSABR

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 02:38 PM

Even non-violent forms of hazing can have a traumatic effect on the victim (that's kind of the point). Cut it out.

#12 Boom Boom

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 02:53 PM

There are always idiots like Incognito who take things too far. For the most part hazing is an innocent tradition that is really not much more than a fraternal club initiation, a right of passage.

Are they silly? Sure they are, but they exist in a workplace inhabited by a select, elite group of individuals who are never really asked to "grow up". They do, after all, play children's games for a living.


I have to disagree with you. They do play a children's game for a living, but they are asked to grow up in many important ways that have nothing to do with sports. They're adults and should be expected to act as such, on the field/court or off. I'm not going to cut sports players slack for acting like meatheads just because they play sports.

#13 nicksaviking

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 03:24 PM

I think hazing takes place amonst the immature and socially awkward (hmm, so often in a mostly male environment...) because they don't have the social skills to develop a civil and working heirchy.

It should be obvious, the players who perform the best, and those with seniority generally should be leading among the rank and file employees. With athletes, there will always the idea in the back of everyone's mind that some Alpha-type youngster is going to think he runs the show because now he's rich and famous.

It's stupid and I don't like it, but it's probably hard to cure as long as the game is played by young (immature) men who get paid to have fun all day. Get some women involved and it might taper off. Unless the women are attractive of course, then it probably gets worse.

#14 TheLeviathan

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:17 PM

Harassment is when you can't get the other guy to stop. Bullying is when you find you have practically no choice but to say yes, or fight.


I fail to see the difference. In fact, the definition of harassment is systematic or continued actions that bother another person.

Though, in fairness, we've stretched the definition of bullying so far recently that virtually any form of negative interaction counts under it. This is harassment by definition. It's being called bullying to strike emotional chords. Yet another toxic angle to the "bullying" fad.

#15 Pius Jefferson

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:48 PM

I think hazing takes place amonst the immature and socially awkward (hmm, so often in a mostly male environment...) because they don't have the social skills to develop a civil and working heirchy.

It should be obvious, the players who perform the best, and those with seniority generally should be leading among the rank and file employees. With athletes, there will always the idea in the back of everyone's mind that some Alpha-type youngster is going to think he runs the show because now he's rich and famous.

It's stupid and I don't like it, but it's probably hard to cure as long as the game is played by young (immature) men who get paid to have fun all day. Get some women involved and it might taper off. Unless the women are attractive of course, then it probably gets worse.


Just wondering why you think women are some how any less likely to commit acts of hazing than men?

#16 ashburyjohn

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:56 PM

I fail to see the difference. In fact, the definition of harassment is systematic or continued actions that bother another person.


Like I said, intimidation. It's what brings it beyond harassment.

What would compel a 300 pound tackle to hand over thousands of dollars to a similarly-sized teammate? Certainly not because it's continued or systematic; junk calls come to my phone daily and I don't give anyone money, I just hang up. It's because Richie Incognito located a weakness. I don't think we know enough yet to guess what that weakness was, although the voice mail transcript gives several possible leads.

Though, in fairness, we've stretched the definition of bullying so far recently


No, that is neither fair, nor correct. I use the term bullying not for emotional purposes but to describe something that went beyond either hazing or harassment.

#17 ashburyjohn

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:59 PM

Just wondering why you think women are some how any less likely to commit acts of hazing than men?


As someone who raised a girl and lived through the teen years and listened to the stories, I too challenge the notion. :)

#18 TheLeviathan

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 05:32 PM

Like I said, intimidation. It's what brings it beyond harassment.


You're coming off antagonistic for someone that doesn't appear to have taken a look at the definitions. Here's what pops up immediately on a google search for "harassment":

[FONT=arial]aggressive pressure or intimidation.
[/FONT]
Here is the legal definition. It also includes "threats" (i.e. - intimidation). The entire problem with your premise is seen in the last part of your post. You say bullying is meant to show something that goes "beyond" harassment.

Yet harassment has been law for decades. We have (almost by definition) "stretched" bullying to the point that it goes beyond harassment and that is the entire problem. We took a non-criminal act and, purely through emotion and rhetoric, given it some faux status as loftier than a criminal act. Historically, harassment was the top of the mountain and we've somehow (and you are evidence of this) put "bullying" ahead of it. That's a baffling stretch - which is exactly what I was saying.

We don't know why Martin endured the harrassment as long as he did, but we know in sports there are strongly enforced unwritten rules and "respect veterans" is among the most universal and entrenched. I don't think we need to look much farther than that.

The racial component puts this firmly in the camp of harassment. It may even be criminal.

Edited by TheLeviathan, 05 November 2013 - 05:59 PM.


#19 goulik

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 05:36 PM

I was part of a fraternity and we had traditional initiations that some could call hazing but by no means went to far and participants chose to go through. We could say no and not join. I remember the things I was required to do fondly and it was fun going through pledge week. Great memories really.
On one hand what the Twins do I think is funny and harmless but on the other hand it is Tied to a work place and being required as part of a work environment which seems different to me.
Having said all of this I am confused as to where a line could be drawn as I am sure most veterans look back on their rookie initiations fondly...

#20 nicksaviking

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:40 PM

Just wondering why you think women are some how any less likely to commit acts of hazing than men?


Because I think men would be much more reluctant to include the hazing of women or in front of women, particularly the professional type who may disapprove of the actions.

I'll ignore the blatantly sexist content of your post in favor of the sections I've bolded.

First, I'd like to point out that hazing occurs in investment banks and law firms as much as it does in baseball. First year analysts are frequently expected to perform menial tasks and run errands that the older employees are "too good" for. The new guys pick up the tab at dinner. Pranks are not uncommon in the slightest. I speak from personal experience- I have been through the process and did not find it to be personally harmful or mentally damaging. It's part of the process. Hazing (as I defined in my previous post) is not necessarily evil, nor is it employed exclusively by hooligans.

Regarding your bolded claim near the bottom-- don't be ridiculous. Would we all love to play baseball? Hell yes. Is it easy? Absolutely not. The work that these guys have to put in as players is ridiculous. Please do not minimize the importance of their achievements and efforts by making ridiculous assertions that players "get paid to have fun all day."


I apologize to all the males I offend when I suggested that young men devoid of the influence of the fairer sex too often behave inappropriately due to a lack of maturity. It was an outrageous claim. I further apologize that I suggested the same men also behave poorly to impress attractive women.

I agree that there are parallels to the male athletic world and the atmosphere in investment banking and law firms. In fact I almost made the same comparison to the 1980's Wall Street culture. Not coincidentally, those are also male dominated fields. Martin Scorsese is about to come out with a new film, The Wolf of Wall Street. Check it you if you want to see power hungry men behaving badly toward each other.

I'm not sure why you think baseball isn't fun for these guys. Most people work hard, these guys work hard playing a game. If it wasn't fun, these guys would retire after making their first ten million and call it a career.

#21 B Richard

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 09:45 PM

I agree that there are parallels to the male athletic world and the atmosphere in investment banking and law firms. In fact I almost made the same comparison to the 1980's Wall Street culture. Not coincidentally, those are also male dominated fields. Martin Scorsese is about to come out with a new film, The Wolf of Wall Street. Check it you if you want to see power hungry men behaving badly toward each other.

I'm not sure why you think baseball isn't fun for these guys. Most people work hard, these guys work hard playing a game. If it wasn't fun, these guys would retire after making their first ten million and call it a career.



Facetious apologies aside, I would like to ask you to explain how "hazing" (read: not harassment) is a.) inherently bad and b.) used exclusively by "immature people". It appears as though you believe these ideas, and I'm curious to see your reasoning.

I believe that baseball is fun for these guys, but there is more to playing professional baseball than just having fun. They get paid to perform, and the pressure to perform well is often very high. This can be extremely stressful and decidedly "not fun" for some guys. (Remember the Hiroki Kuroda quote? Link-Yankees? Kuroda: I?ve never enjoyed baseball | New York Post)

I still take issue with your remark that ballplayers "get paid to have fun all day". The hard work they put in and the pressure inherent in the game are not fun at all. Additionally, what if someone younger than you and better than you were trying to take your job? Fun?

I am quite familiar with Scorsese and his upcoming work. I am extremely excited to see DiCaprio and Marty work together. Those two have something special
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#22 twinsnorth49

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 10:33 PM

I find the analogies to other workplaces a bit naive, pro sports teams are not like the average workplace and the relationship between the employees has a very different dynamic.
The Incognito case is an extreme one and goes beyond what the traditional idea of hazing is. Hazing is really nothing more than a way to encourage bonding and, particularly in the sports world, a way to show ones committment to each other and the team. In some ways it is analogous to the miltary, albeit with vastly lower stakes, but the notion of trust and committment to one another is similar.

I'm not comparing playing football or baseball to being in a theatre of war, merely pointing out that they are often synonymous in a metaphorical sense, especially in this instance

#23 PseudoSABR

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 10:43 PM

In positive news, I just saw London Fletcher speak on Sportscenter (via a locker room report); the man was flabbergasted as to how this (Martin-Incognito) could happen, that there was such a lack of veteran leadership as to allow this indignity to happen. Fletcher was disgusted to the point that he seems to question not only the coaching leadership, but the veteran player leadership on the Dolphins, that such behavior could not just be ignored, but was perhaps, disgustingly, tolerated (er, encouraged).

Edited by PseudoSABR, 06 November 2013 - 12:52 AM.


#24 glunn

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 11:01 PM

Moderator note -- let's try to dial down the squabbling in this thread by a notch or two. You can be passionate, but the rules require that you be respectful.

#25 mike wants wins

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 08:36 AM

As a fraternity member, I heard all the excuses for hazing you can offer. It is about humility. It is about bonding. It is a tradition. It makes you stronger. It is about whatever. It really is about more powerful people bullying less powerful people.

Are there degrees that might be acceptable? Probably. Getting coffee as a new employee might be ok. Having to dress up in clothing that gets you laughed at, probably not. Someplace between there is the likely grey line.

YMMV, but the arguments for hazing are pretty weak in a modern world, imo. They are much like the arguments for many traditions that we have pushed aside as we have learned more about the real effects of them.
Lighten up Francis....

#26 D. Hocking

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 09:04 AM

In positive news, I just saw London Fletcher speak on Sportscenter (via a locker room report); the man was flabbergasted as to how this (Martin-Incognito) could happen, that there was such a lack of veteran leadership as to allow this indignity to happen. Fletcher was disgusted to the point that he seems to question not only the coaching leadership, but the veteran player leadership on the Dolphins, that such behavior could not just be ignored, but was perhaps, disgustingly, tolerated (er, encouraged).


It is no surprised to anyone reading the news that not every football player is exactly a boy scout, and some are literally felons. I would imagine a locker room without a strong leadership could be a toxic for someone targeted.

One of the Vikings was interviewed on 1500 yesterday, and he almost seemed more critical of Martin than Incognito, saying he would have dealt with it internally and told Incognito where to go (I was actually trying to be productive at work, so I might have misinterpreted by not completely listening.) I thought it had kind of a blame the victim attitude, plus confronting Incognito might have been easier said than done if you feel the rest of the team is tolerating or even approving his behavior.

#27 TheLeviathan

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 09:26 AM

I thought it had kind of a blame the victim attitude, plus confronting Incognito might have been easier said than done if you feel the rest of the team is tolerating or even approving his behavior.


Even moreso if the reports are true that Incognito was acting at the behest of the coaching staff. Hard to go to a coaching staff for help if they're in on it too.

#28 nicksaviking

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 10:30 AM

It is no surprised to anyone reading the news that not every football player is exactly a boy scout, and some are literally felons. I would imagine a locker room without a strong leadership could be a toxic for someone targeted.

One of the Vikings was interviewed on 1500 yesterday, and he almost seemed more critical of Martin than Incognito, saying he would have dealt with it internally and told Incognito where to go (I was actually trying to be productive at work, so I might have misinterpreted by not completely listening.) I thought it had kind of a blame the victim attitude, plus confronting Incognito might have been easier said than done if you feel the rest of the team is tolerating or even approving his behavior.


Yeah, I'm pretty disappointed that so many other players seem to be blaming Martin. They keep saying keep it in house and handle it yourself. Sage advice considering Icognito has had a reputation for being mentally unstable, he threatened to kill Martin and the NFL has a recent troubling history of players using firearms inappropriately. "Hey kid, the best move is to go punch the the guy voted 'Dirtiest Player in the NFL' in the nose, things will turn up aces for you!"

Many players want to keep this stuff in house? Duh, most aren't affected negatively and they don't want more spotlights showing the other socially unacceptable things that take place in professional locker rooms considering the behavior may be far from professional.

#29 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 01:56 PM

A few completely unrelated points:

1) It isn't necessarily happening here, but one thing that really bothers me about all of this is the focus on the racial aspect of things. I'm not a fan of it to be clear, but the fact that he chose to use race is inconsqeuential in my mind to the fact that he threatened Martin's family and Martin himself. Kind of sick really, and it's disturbing that society seems more pre-occupied with the use of the N word.

2) I was also in a fraternity, and echo most of what Mike said in post 25. Truth is though that the only "hazing" I experienced was having to carry a small journal with me for about 6 weeks, and had it been anything degrading, I would have simply said no to the bid. The problem as I see it is that the small gray line varies from person to person. I personally wouldn't think much of being ducktaped to the goaline (ala Tim Tebow a couple years ago), but I doubt I'd be OK with having my clothes stolen and not returned out of my locker while I was in the shower. Both of these, I might add, happen, and while some are OK with it, some are not. The problem with the hazing side of things is that the victim never gets to define the line.

3) Levi is right here, using the term bullying is a stretch at best. This is harrassment and extortion. It's a crime and Incognito will likely have a line added to his criminal record over this.

4) I do not see how adding professional women to the locker room will help this at all. I'd argue it would add a worse dymanic in sexual harrassment. That already can go on in a locker room, which is largely why no gays have come out of the closet in the NFL. But in the few cases some sort of integration here has already occurred, there has been documented harrassment and even rape. Just a few years ago, Brett Favre got in a whole lot of trouble over sending a few pictures to a reporter. He was also named in a lawsuit regarding some female trainers. Adding more women to this mix isn't going to suddenly tame these guys. This is maturity issue through and through. I'd like to simply ask why it is that these men cannot act like professionals (and I'd expand that to other fields too), but unfortunately, there's a culture here that's blatantly unprofessional. It has to start before the NFL or MLB. It has to start before college. It has to start before highschool. For all the talk about how sports build character, the reality of the matter is that most athletes are coddled their entire lives because of their skills. They aren't held accountable and this type of mentality can easily develop. Hunter Smith (former Punter for the Colts) wrote a great book on this a few years ago (The Jersey Effect). It's a good read (thought to be clear this is a religious book).

#30 mike wants wins

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 02:10 PM

To be clear, I intentionally joined a house that did NOT haze. It was one of my criteria.
Lighten up Francis....