TO THE EDITOR:
As educators, advisors, counselors and in the front lines with women and men starting their first year in colleges across the country this fall, we all need to stop our bystander approach to hazing and speak out.
Tolerating hazing, or looking the other way, is just as bad as participating.
Dallas Cowboys rookie Dez Bryant didn’t participate, didn’t stand by and did speak up when he refused to carry equipment off the field for a veteran player as part of a rookie ritual.
No matter how you feel about Bryant’s actions, the bottom line is that rookie hazing in sports arenas has become institutionalized and accepted.
It shouldn’t be.
We all have to start somewhere when it comes to providing appropriate role models for young and impressionable people who look up to well-paid, oft-quoted and highly respected sports figures.
Indianapolis’ own Peyton Manning did speak up – simply saying: “We don’t do that around here.” If the Colts can act like adults and tell the world, so can anyone else affiliated with the National Football League.
The problem with hazing in any form is that it rarely remains innocuous; perpetrators tend to add their own “spin” until the practice leads to emotional or physical injury or trauma and sometimes death, according to Marilyn Fordham, a panhellenic woman and an officer for the national group HazingPrevention.org.