MINNEAPOLIS -- Each year at the start of training camp, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier goes through his rules for the team, covering a list of dos and don'ts for how the team will handle its business on and off the field. One of the things highest on Frazier's list of what he won't allow is rookie hazing.
Frazier saw it happen when he played for the Chicago Bears' 1985 championship team, and he has encountered it at different times in his career as a coach. Before his first full season as the Vikings' head coach, Frazier made it clear he wouldn't tolerate his players doing it.
"Just as a former player and seeing what guys experienced who were hazed, and then as a coach witnessing guys that were being hazed and the effect it had on them, I just didn’t want that to be a part of what we were trying to do once I became a head coach," Frazier said. "I just didn’t see the benefit of it when it comes to wins and losses. I have no regrets about that."
The issue, of course, is a hot topic in NFL circles this week in light of what Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito allegedly did to teammate Jonathan Martin, using racial slurs and threats in the name of hazing. Martin left the team before its game on Oct. 31, and Incognito has since been suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.
Frazier said he's had veteran players try to talk him out of his rule, and he reprimanded defensive linemen Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Brian Robison for taping rookie Chase Baker and pouring ice, water and Pepto-Bismol on his head during training camp last year. Allen said there can still be a place for hazing, within reason, to keep rookies in line, pointing out that veterans made him buy fried chicken for them and put himself in danger of missing team flights when he was a rookie. But these days, linebacker Chad Greenway said, the Vikings don't do much more than make rookies bring veterans donuts and coffee.
Not that everyone gets treated the same, of course.
"After those guys saw me in training camp, they really weren't trying to bother me too much," running back Adrian Peterson said. "I think I earned their respect rather quickly."
As long as Frazier is the Vikings' coach, it seems any major form of hazing won't be tolerated.
"Everybody has their own way of doing things," he said. "Those guys that you’re messing with are guys that we're counting on to help us to win. You want the right chemistry in the locker room as well. I just didn’t see the pluses to doing it."