It’s a tradition that drew scrutiny during the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal of nearly a decade ago. Although many thought it would end, it apparently continues — one rookie class at a time.
Appearing on The Pivot Podcast, Jets receiver Garrett Wilson got fair warning as to the reality that he’ll eventually be required to pick up the tab from a gratuitously expensive dinner. Wilson, as explained by Jack Baer of Yahoo Sports, apparently had no idea that the price will be so high.
Said Fred Taylor to Wilson, “You know they’re going to run that bill up, like $75,000.”
Wilson didn’t buy the fact that he’ll be buying such a pricey meal.
Said Ryan Clark, “You’re the 10th pick of the draft, they know you got $20 [million] guaranteed.”
Added Channing Crowder, “He thinks it’s his decision.”
Taylor went on to tell a story about his time in New England, when the entire team went out to dinner and the rookies got stuck with the full bill.
“Tom [Brady] would come in there and buy a three, four, five thousand dollar bottle of wine, take one sip, say goodnight,” Taylor said.
Taylor spent two years with the Patriots, in 2009 and 2010. So he apparently witnessed Brady doing it once or maybe twice.
Years ago, Chargers veterans took quarterback Ryan Leaf’s credit card and charged an expensive meal to it. After Leaf complained to team management, Junior Seau wiped out Leaf following an interception in practice.
Like all hazing, those who have experienced the worst of it don’t want to let others escape their turn. And so the cycle continues, one year after another.
At its core, however, it’s a tremendous waste of money. Given the tax bracket in which most NFL players reside, it takes roughly $150,000 of pre-tax earnings to finance $75,000 in after-tax expenditures. It would be different if NFL players were looking at multiple decades of NFL income. (Brady is the rarest of the exceptions.) But the NFL revenue candle burns brightly and, for the vast majority of players, not for long. The idea of forcing first rounders to piss away money that could come in handy during the decades they’ll live after their playing careers end makes no sense, whatsoever.
No, it’s not easy to break the cycle of hazing. The local restaurants that benefit from their stupidly lavish meals don’t want it to happen. As of six years ago, the Cowboys apparently stopped doing it. All teams should.