Have you watched the news lately?
There's a new trend sweeping the nation. OK not exactly new, but until recently it has never been so publicized.
I'm talking about hazing.
According to dictionary.com, hazing is "subjection to harassment or ridicule."
Something that is supposed to be taboo, and illegal, is making its way into millions of homes via NFL training camp. Hazing has been considered a rite of iniation for centuries, and the NFL did not invent it.
But it sure as heck is trying to popularize it, and nothing scares me more.
Anywhere you looked for sports news, there it was: Tim Tebow's ring of hair.
Yes, it's easy for professional sports players to draw the line; a new hair-cut for America's most popular rookie may not seem dangerous.
However, its implications can be.
Every year 1.7 million high school and college students get hazed. People behind hazing often argue that it creates a bond among those who are hazed.
What they fail to realize is that hazing also creates many bad emotions among those hazed; often times these emotions include hatred for those who have hazed them, or hatred for themselves as a result of being demoralized.
In 1998 Saints rookies were subjected to a 'gauntlet.' The only reason fans found out about it? Two players were severely injured.
No surprise considering that the veterans were swinging bags of coins at the rookies.
Besides the physical pain, Cornell researchers say that hazing can also bring about depression, especially for those who have previously suffered from the disease. The same researchers also say that hazing is often a more traumatic experience for people who were abused as children.
What professional sports is telling America is that hazing is OK, and it is most definitely not.
Imagine all the high school seniors gearing up for their final season of high school sports.
When they turn on their TV and see how the rookies or freshmen are treated, don't you think they'll be more likely to haze their new teammates?
The difference is that a 17 year-old's mind doesn't know the same boundaries as an adult professional athlete.
What the world needs is more Dez Bryants (now that is something I never thought I would say).
His refusal to carry teammates' pads sparked a huge debate over NFL hazing.
So what has NFL commissioner Roger Goodell promised to do about it?
Hank Nuwer, a man who has written four books on hazing and studied its tragic extremes for more than three decades told USA Today, "We're in an age of extremes, but we're also in an age when players have gone through lecture after lecture at the high school and college level to say that you don't have to put up with hazing. And then you suddenly get into the NFL and it's OK. But it isn't."
Those 'tragic extremes' include sodomy, rape, extreme humiliation, and occasionally death.
The NFL needs to take a stand on hazing, and it needed to be done yesterday. The NFL isn't alone in its failure to stop hazing. The MLB and NBA still lack policies against it.
America needs to stop approving of, and allowing, hazing.
I know it will disappoint America, but the hero here is Dez Bryant.
Someone needed to take a stand, but I think it's safe to say we would have bet on Tebow before Bryant.