ALAMEDA – Raiders coach Dennis Allen made a point of eliminating rookie hazing and initiation rituals this training camp. While it goes on in subtle ways, like carrying pads and making food runs, Allen said that nothing extreme has gone on with this year’s group.
Hazing and its place in NFL football has become a national discussion in light of Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, a Stanford alum, leaving his team due to harassment from teammates including guard Richie Incognito.
Allen said nothing like that has happened with the Raiders.
“Obviously that’s something that you always want to keep a close eye on and keep monitored, but I don’t think we have any issues with that type of stuff on this football team,” Allen said Monday in a press conference. “Really that was a point that we tried to make in training camp of not really hazing the rookies because we need everybody if we’re going to get this culture the right way and we’re going to win football games like we believe we’re capable of winning. We’re going to need everybody in that locker room.”
Allen has tried to derail standard rookie initiations in the name of team chemistry. True to Allen’s request, there were no public incidents of hazing or initiation, even the light-hearted fare typical around NFL training camps. Last year, however, was a different story.
Several rookies received comical haircuts, some rather embarrassing, during camp. Even that was in good fun, without malice behind it.
Allen believes he needs to police his players' actions, and wants to curtail antics that could be deemed offensive.
“I’m not in there going through the locker room every day and monitor exactly what goes on,” Allen said. “But, yeah, I try to have a good feel for what’s happening with the players and try to have my little side conversations to make sure the locker room is doing well.”