Dez Bryant says hazing has no place in professional sports.
Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant says hazing has no place in professional sports.
The Miami Dolphins are in the midst of a firestorm after allegations of hazing and bullying.
Bryant may be one of the few NFL players in recent memory to emphatically draw a line, refusing the rookie rite of passage that includes requests from veteran players such as former Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams to buy food and carry their pads to and from the practice field.
He is just as emphatic about hazing now.
"I think if you want to win, you got to leave that hazing out of the door," he said. "It can't be in your locker room."
Despite his refusals to be hazed, Bryant ultimately was the victim of an expensive trick. His effort to take a few teammates to dinner turned into what became practically a team dinner -- and a tab of $55,000 at a Dallas steakhouse.
"It's just my opinion, I think, that kind of stuff is uncalled for, you know," he said. "There's really no need for it."
The Dolphins scandal may outlast anything they do on the field this year. Starting offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, the target of alleged threats and hazing, has left the team.
Offensive guard Ritchie Incognito has been suspended indefinitely and may have played his last game in Miami. He reportedly left Martin profanity-laced voice mail messages and texts with racial epithets, even allegedly threatening to harm members of Martin's family.
If you want to bring the best out of a young player, hazing is not the way, Bryant said.
"You don't want them to be feeling that this is not a place for them, and that's something that I think I got over to our rookies," he said. "I treated them as if they were here five years. I think that's what you need; you want to put that confidence in them early."
Bryant credited the Cowboys organization with doing a great job with maintaining a balance of old-fashioned rookie treatment but drawing the line at any professional hazing. At the end of the day, the current No. 88 says there's simply no place for hazing if the goal is winning.
"Every team's No. 1 goal is how you reach that Super Bowl, and I think you can't focus on that with that kind of behavior in the locker room," he said.