Hazing is a new form of bullying

That chicken suit doesn’t seem so funny now does it…

With a new flock of varsity members each year, returning players feel the need to formally welcome their teammates. Returning players force new players to either dress up for school, waking them up early at their house and kidnapping them or making them recite phrases whenever they see a returning member of varsity on campus. Though seemingly harmless to many, hazing can often bring deep psychological pain to the hazed students.

Underclassmen roaming campus are susceptible to the most social anxiety with fearsome upperclassmen staring at them with their taunts and jeers. The hazers may feel like they are attempting to boost the new team’s morale, but in truth the returning players are creating a divide between the team of returners and new members.

It’s not a friendly prank or joke. Players among players take it to far crossing mental and physical lines. ¬†For the people who even consider bringing hazing to their sport, don’t. Nothing is more cowardly than trying to put others down in order to seem bigger.

There has been no recent progress in the fight against sports hazing. A recent example involves Johnathan Martin and Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins, an excellent example as to why there should be stricter team and locker room conduct rules.

Mr. Incognito sent disturbing images and racial slurs to Martin to the point of Martin’s departure. The lack of boundaries enforced by the Miami Dolphin’s Organization led to a breakdown in player security, however Incognito thought Martin knew he was just pulling a joke. Sadly, the so-called “message” wasn’t relayed to Martin, leading to fear of his safety. Racial and physical threats are nothing to be taken lightly. It is a sad day, when one can’t play the game they love without fear of being harassed and embarrassed by fellow teammates.

No longer does it need to involve players, but coaches, administrators and even parents. There needs to be a clear, established definition of hazing by which schools must abide. Athletes need to understand that hazing is unnecessary, and hard work alone should validate their position on varsity . Students need to let either a parent, coach, or other trusted adult if they are pressured or feel uncomfortable.

The time of old, where hazing was just considered a part of the game, should be left in the past. We should strive for a new and reformed image of sports, where headlines are no longer plagued with “10 Students Expelled”, but with “Team Overcomes Great Adversity”. Team captains should make sure the team has undying faith in one another. Lead by example, don’t be something your team tries to avoid, be something they try to become.

Fear does not make a good leader, one who can lead others out of fear is a real leader. Sure, your classmates may think your the gosh darn bee’s knee’s for making that freshman dress up as cow to school, but when looking back later in life, that surely won’t make anyone feel too proud. If, by some infantile way you need to make yourself feel big over others to lead them, then you don’t deserve to lead in the first place.¬†Hazing needs to be dealt with head on, it can no longer be pushed aside or sports will surely suffer.