The Sayreville High School football case is drawing more attention to hazing around the country and, sadly, it isn’t an isolated incident by any means. Lurid details like those in Sayreville have been rampant throughout the country in recent months.
"In Colorado, the hazing case involved a pencil. In Los Angeles, a broken flag pole. In Iowa, a jump-rope handle. In Missouri, a water bottle. In Vermont, pool cues. In New York City, coaches were fired after accusations that three members of the track team assaulted younger teammates, with one reportedly saying, “You need a good fingering, you freshman.”"
The guess here – as with attention focused on child sexual abuse with cases like Jerry Sandusky, or domestic abuse with video like in the Ray Rice matter – is that it is a result of greater scrutiny, social media, and attention on the topic. Male teenage football players are not being more or less inappropriate than they were decades ago.
"“More and more we’re seeing this among male high-school athletes, where this is their mode of hazing: some kind of sexual assault that involves anal penetration,” said Mary Madden, former co-director of National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention at the University of Maine, Orono."
"“We don’t know if it’s getting more severe, or whether it’s just getting discovered more often,” she said. A review by Bloomberg News counted over a dozen incidents of high school boys being sodomized with foreign objects by their teammates in 2013 alone."
For example, a Lexis search shows numerous articles that mention hazing and football in the 1980’s. However, many dance around the specifics. Putting “anal penetration” in the headline may shock your sensibilities, but when we gloss over it, just like we might gloss and minimize the family secret of child sexual abuse, or minimize domestic violence without seeing a stark video, it makes it seem less sinister.
One, entitled “Grid Camp Hazing Shocks Watertown” that appeared in the Boston Globe, did provide some details that look like they might have been ripped out of these 2013 and 2014 headlines.
"One senior said he was made to sit in urine as a freshman, and vowed never to put another through such a humiliation. “I was throwing up,” he said. “That was disgusting. I wouldn’t put anyone through that.” By Thursday night, the fourth night in camp, many seniors had already claimed sophomores as their “slaves,” making the younger boys clean their cabins and wash their clothes. Earlier, amid the horseplay, a boy was stuck in a duffel bag, dragged around and kicked. Then came the “cookie run,” which players say was a longstanding team tradition, in which boys stripped, placed cookies in their buttocks, and raced across a field. If the cookie fell out, the player would have to eat it. After that, the details get fuzzy and student accounts differ."
So that was from 1988, and talking about a long standing tradition of cookies in buttocks. These incidents are disgusting, but better to hear about it and get it in the open than to have it happen to our kids behind closed doors. Hopefully, shining the light on this issues will make those that are subjected to it speak out, rather than perpetuate the cycle. It’s not part of football, or being part of a team. [Image via]