HAZING as BULLYING
Recently, unless you have been living under a rock, or in the woods preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse, some NFL and college football players have ‘come out of the locker room’, and their teams have come under fire, after very serious allegations of hazing have surfaced.
Everyone seems to be weighing in on the topic, so I figured why the hell not?
Heck, Jeremy Shockey has been telling people about this issue for YEARS.
Definition time for those of you who don’t know but think you may have a good idea:
Hazing: humiliating and sometimes dangerous initiation rituals, esp. as imposed on college students seeking membership to a fraternity or sorority.
Bullying: to use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.
Based on these two definitions, the separation between hazing and bullying is that bullying has no purpose of initiation, but otherwise, hazing and bullying are the same abuse of power.
Some disagree, based on the premise that hazing is something that eventually STOPS once you are considered part of the team/group/fraternity/club, and its intended goal is to promote solidarity and shared experience between members based on a sense of belonging since everyone has been through the SAME initiation.
In that vein, Hazing is TECHNICALLY a more socially accepted term considering the negative connotations that are attached to the word ‘bullying’.
So where is the line drawn? Do you feel that hazing is simply bullying that society deems as acceptable?
The high-profile parties to the current controversy have brought this distinction to the forefront of our current life debates.
The Miami Dolphins suspended Richie Incognito over alleged bullying and harassment, after, over a prolonged period, he is said to have repeatedly abused tackle Jonathan Martin, leaving voicemail messages on his phone which included such abuse as, “Hey, wassup, you half n—– piece of (expletive)…” and “(I’m going to) slap your (expletive) mouth. (I’m going to) slap your real mother across the face (laughter).” Incognito had even intimidated Martin into paying $15,000 for a meal in Las Vegas that he didn’t even attend.
According to one op-ed piece in the New York Times they are one and the same: “Hazing is simply another name for bullying, and it is unacceptable in all its forms. Bullies will do only what bystanders allow; it is a group process and a social dynamic that grips a victim’s entire world.”
I URGE you to read this quick post on Hazing and the top Myths surrounding such practices.
Hazing is not limited to certain areas or disciplines – the military, athletic teams, marching bands, professional schools and so on all have a history of hazing members.
Hazing is not authorized by universities or the NFL, most of whom have strict no-hazing policies. However, group sports and fraternal organizations, traditionally, have their own internal guidelines, their own “initiations” to supposedly strength their bond.
Even NFL players have stated that they EXPECTED to be hazed, whether same did or did not actually happen.
EXAMPLE: When Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith reported to his first training camp two years ago, he anticipated being hazed by veteran teammates. He “had heard the stories and watched shows like HBO’s “Hard Knocks” that glorified the behavior and was prepared to be rudely welcomed to the NFL”. To his surprise, since of course the Ravens are AWESOME anyway, the rookies were welcomed by leaders like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs, who made it clear that the team had more important things to worry about. STORY HERE.
My sorority, Tri Delta, has a no-tolerance policy for hazing – unlike some others whose pledges would have to do embarrassing, yet not harmful, activities. However, I witnessed a lot of hazing in the other Greek organizations. Usually, this was light-hearted, such as making new pledges clean the house, or sing in a public place; however, there is a MUCH darker side.
There are times when hazing goes so over the line to amount to assault, battery, and even permanent physical and mental injury.
Take the case of Cameron Fagen, 19-year-old Grand View college student who was a member of the BOWLING team.
First thought? Seriously, hazing in BOWLING? What do they do, roll you down the lane? Put itching powder in your bowling shoes?
NOPE. THEY KICK THE SHIT OUT OF YOU AND BREAK YOUR JAW!!
Fagen has sued the university (GOOD!) after he was severely beaten by a group of fellow athletes AND IT WAS CAPTURED ON VIDEO!. Apparently, the incident “started after some rough housing among friends. It ended with duct-taped Fagen punched, kicked, beaten with a broom handle and rolled up in a carpet before being left bleeding and injured in a dorm common room. The diminutive Fagen suffered a broken jaw.” (Des Moines Register)
HE IS DAMN RIGHT TO BE SUING – it’s freaking criminal! The video is DISGUSTING and shows a total lack of humanity in every damn person in that room. It is assault. It is battery. I think the students who did this act were definitely not HAZING – they went way too far to call their actions something less than repulsive, inhuman and sickening (actually more like, they went insane).
The Huffington Post refers to this incident as BULLYING. Other outlets claim HAZING.
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE???