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Dez Bryant: Treat rookies like they were 5-year veterans.

Great interview, Dez Bryant.

Great story, too, by Randy McIlwain.

Excerpt:

[Dez Bryant] is just as emphatic about hazing now.

“I think if you want to win, you got to leave that hazing out of the door,” he said. “It can’t be in your locker room.”

Despite his refusals to be hazed, Bryant ultimately was the victim of an expensive trick. His effort to take a few teammates to dinner turned into what became practically a team dinner — and a tab of $55,000 at a Dallas steakhouse.

“It’s just my opinion, I think, that kind of stuff is uncalled for, you know,” he said. “There’s really no need for it.”

…..If you want to bring the best out of a young player, hazing is not the way, Bryant said.

“You don’t want them to be feeling that this is not a place for them, and that’s something that I think I got over to our rookies,” he said. “I treated them as if they were here five years. I think that’s what you need; you want to put that confidence in them early.”

Bryant credited the Cowboys organization with doing a great job with maintaining a balance of old-fashioned rookie treatment but drawing the line at any professional hazing. At the end of the day, the current No. 88 says there’s simply no place for hazing if the goal is winning.

“Every team’s No. 1 goal is how you reach that Super Bowl, and I think you can’t focus on that with that kind of behavior in the locker room,” he said.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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