The NFL may want to ban Richie Incognito-style bullying in locker rooms, but rookie hazing is alive and well.
The latest example comes from Philadelphia, where second-year offensive tackle Lane Johnson has tweeted a picture of a receipt from a rookie dinner. The total bill came in at $17,747.86. Items included a $3,495 bottle of wine.
Johnson didn’t say who footed the bill for the rookie dinner, but veterans forcing rookies to pay for exorbitant nights out is a longstanding tradition in the NFL. Just this week, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant talked about how upset he was during his rookie year when veterans forced him to pay a $55,000 dinner tab.
This longstanding tradition should come to an end. Just because NFL players make a lot of money, that doesn’t mean they should be pressured to spend that money on frivolous things like bottles of wine that cost as much as the average American takes home in a month. A good veteran mentor would take a rookie aside and talk to him about investing his money wisely and saving for retirement. A veteran who pressures a rookie to spend thousands of dollars on a meal is being a jerk.
Many NFL players go broke shortly after retirement despite making millions of dollars in their 20s. The NFL and the union should work together to encourage players to spend their money wisely, not throw it away on rookie dinners.