Hazing News

Old Nebraska football custom: Freshmen beaten and had chew spit poured on them

Although hazing remains a staple of NFL locker rooms, [Detroit] Lions players were surprised to hear of Incognito’s behavior and insisted the acts were extreme and not common in the game.

Editor’s note: So this is the kind  of collegiate upbringing that Mr. Incognito had? Shame, Nebraska.

Excerpt from Karl Meinke feature

[Dominick] Raiola said his worst hazing actually came at Nebraska, where freshmen were beat on and had chew spit poured on them when they were allowed to join the upperclassmen in the main locker room. (This practice, called “paying rent,” has been discontinued.)

With the Lions, he once had to foot a $6,000 dinner tab, and another time had to sing. But that was about it.

Mosley said he remembers paying for a couple $600 dinners when he was a rookie in 2005 with the Vikings, and waking at 5 a.m. for donut runs.

Burleson said he had to pay a few hundred bucks for dinners with Minnesota in 2003, and had to shave his eyebrows and head once. Harmless stuff — although he once saw rookie linebacker Aaron Curry pay a $30,000 tab while with Seattle in 2009.

Curry, though, was a fourth-overall pick and had signed a deal with $34 million in guaranteed money. That’s a far cry from the $400,000 that many rookies earn.

“When you start making people feel uncomfortable in the workplace, that’s when you got to have a clear understanding that something has to be done,” Burleson said. “Schwartz talks about it all the time. There’s no need for stuff like that on a team.

“When a guy is concerned about showing up for work, he’s not going to be concerned about doing his job. The whole point is for us to show up and do our jobs.”

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; 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 current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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