Timberwolves Are Done with Hazing Because of That 'Football Thing' in Miami

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterNovember 13, 2013

GREENBURGH, NY - AUGUST 06:  Shabazz Muhammad #15 of the Minnesota Timberwolves poses for a portrait during the 2013 NBA rookie photo shoot at the MSG Training Center on August 6, 2013 in Greenburgh, New York.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Thanks, Miami Dolphins. Now none of us get to have any fun. 

As a peculiar and controversial hazing story continues to unfold in the NFL, the rest of the sports world is apparently answering back in kind. 

The LA Times' Eric Pincus via The Big Lead covered a number of basketball-centric items regarding Los Angeles on Sunday. Among the items was the regular rookie hazing that takes place: carrying bags and buying candy—exactly what the Lakers' Elias Harris has been forced to do. 

However, Pincus reports things are far different for Minnesota personnel who decided none of these shenanigans are to take place for the Timberwolves: 

Timberwolves rookie Shabazz Muhammad said team President Chris Wright and GM Milt Newton informed players they no longer wanted rookies wearing child-themed backpacks. Muhammad had been issued a Jonas Brothers backpack to wear on trips.

As The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre reminds, Muhammad has a thing with audacious bags, having rocked a Gucci bag while at UCLA

This current Jonas Brothers bag apparently caused a stir with T-Wolves brass—at least enough for them to pull the plug on some harmless ribbing. 

Muhammad had this to say, "They actually said they don't want us carrying them, but I understand with the stuff going on with the football thing." The 20-year-old continued, "They want to be separate from that. . . Now I think rookie hazing won't exist anymore."

The "football thing" is obviously a reference to the ongoing drama surrounding the Miami Dolphins at the moment. Chances are if you breezed past a modicum of sports radio in the past week, you have been hit square over the head with the story. 

Earlier this month, Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito was suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team. 

Oct 27, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (68) blocks against the New England Patriots during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Since that time, we have seen and heard a wealth of items that cloud a story that is only partially about hazing and harassment. This past weekend, Fox Sports 1 aired an interview with a contrite Incognito who claims he had a friendly relationship with teammate Jonathan Martin. 

For the moment, there is no real certainty as to the kind of relationship Martin and Incognito actually had, but it's clear that the NFL has a huge spotlight on locker room antics and hazing that clearly crosses a line at times. 

Wanting to squash an issue before one even begins, the Timberwolves are banning even the most benign form of rookie tumult. 

Even MLB teams are known to make their rookies carry ridiculous bags, many times they are filled with treats for bullpen pitchers, as per the New York Times

Yes, it would be easy to blast officials for going overboard, but this raises a very real question: Would anyone really miss hazing if it were gone?

It's clear that some athletes have no limit or ability to self-police when it comes to giving rookies a hard time, many times traipsing over to bullying or harassment. 

If that's the case, it may be time to clear the board and carry on without a tradition that at its most benign is a hilarious way to welcome new faces to the sport. But at its worst, it can destroy another human being mentally and emotionally. 

That's quite the gamble for silly backpacks. 


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