San Francisco 49ers Rookie Hazing (Or Lack Thereof ) May Be a Good Thing

Joseph BurkeyAnalyst IAugust 12, 2010

Shave his head? Good luck with that!
Shave his head? Good luck with that!Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

We've seen Tim Tebow's monk-halo haircut. We heard about Dez Bryant being told to carry pads. There have, however, been zero reports of rookie hazing at the 49ers training camp.

49ers kicker Joe Nedney told the Lamont and Tonelli Morning Show on 107.7 'The Bone' this morning that the team's rookies are "getting off scott-free" this year.

This is probably a good thing.

One reason this is a blessing is that the team, as a whole, is showing maturity. There are far more important matters heading into the season than who's playing a prank on who, and which new guy isn't being subordinate to the veterans.

The 49ers have been more concerned with conditioning, blocking and tackling thus far. Who has time to worry about haircuts here? Moving the ball and forcing turnovers are priorities, not clowning around and bullying new guys.

And given the beastly stature and nature of San Francisco's draft class, would anybody really want to mess with them? Try shaving the head of a 6'5, 350-pound Samoan who was quoted saying "I want to destroy a lot of people" before the draft. Maybe you want to tell the 6'4 270 lb blocking TE who said "I like to bloody noses" that he needs to be carrying your pads for you.

No. There is much more important business being attended to—like football.



Sure, maybe eventually a rubber snake ends up in someones locker, or maybe a tarantula finds its way into some one's pads, but there's no place for juvenile distractions in the long run. This team is headed somewhere, and it's not MTV's Jackass.


Sure, I get the merit and tradition of hazing, especially harmless things like a silly haircut or a little ball-busting abuse of theoretical authority. Learn your place, and have a little fun. But on a young, up-and-coming team, this practice can seem quite antiquated.

The rookie you're about to haze might be about to take your job. On the converse side, the rookie you're about to haze might not be here next week, meaning your little joke was in very poor taste.

And the slightest thing gone wrong could hurt a player's chance of helping the team. I cringe every time a shaving cream pie finds it's mark in baseball—eyesight is still important in that sport, right?

In 2006, Vikings head coach Brad Childress banned hazing in the organization, and look where they've come from there.

A team with nothing to lose can certainly get away with it. A team riding the wave of success can stand by it as well, but a young team on the rise really has no need for it.

Hence, the hazing the 49ers have engaged in—or lack thereof—is probably a good thing.