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Lessons from the NFL

By Tim Braddick (Cincinnati) 

Love. Honor. Truth. Nothing Less 

Several years ago, the National Football League came under scrutiny when reports and photographs surfaced of the hazing that rookie players were enduring as part of their indoctrination into the various NFL teams. Some teams received more negative press than others. Obnoxious and embarrassing rookie haircuts, excessive dinner bills at luxury restaurants, and, in one case, a rookie was duct taped to the goalposts in the stadium after practice while nude. 

The outrage from the media and fans was swift, rightfully so. But it was not the reports of misconduct or the outrage that caught my attention. It was the statements made by one of the League’s marquee players at that time that resonated with me.  

At that time, Peyton Manning was widely considered the top player in the League. He was a Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, Pro Bowler and would soon become an NFL Hall of Famer. He was the leader of the Indianapolis Colts. The news of rookie hazing was inescapable then, and the media wanted to hear from Peyton. It was just a matter of time before a member of the press asked him what his opinion was of the recent deluge of rookie hazing.  

Peyton was quoted as saying, “We don’t do that around here because we don’t treat the guys like rookies. We expect those guys to play this year and play well.” Manning went on to describe how his team’s primary goal is to win a Super Bowl, and despite beliefs to the contrary, the hazing only serves to distract his team from reaching that goal. Manning goes on to say that “if a rookie is going to be on the roster, he’s going to contribute like everyone else.” 

Manning views the rookies as equals. They are expected to contribute to the advancement of the franchise. They are expected to help the team win and be successful. Rookies are not viewed as second-class members of the franchise whose sole purpose is to “carry pads,” pick up excessive food tabs, and serve as cheap humor for the veteran members of the team.  

Manning’s outlook on what it takes to build a championship culture has many parallels to the Mission of Sigma Nu Fraternity. We are the only Fraternity founded in direct opposition to hazing. That opposition to hazing is a part of our fabric and our DNA. It’s who we are. It applies to everyone regardless of whether you are a Commander, a graduating senior, or a new candidate. Everyone deserves to be treated equally because every man in the chapter - both initiate and candidate - is there to contribute to the success of the chapter in his own unique way.  

Over the long term, a candidate education program that does not align with the Fraternity’s strict no-hazing policy will only be a distraction from the chapter achieving whatever goals it sets out to achieve. National Hazing Prevention Week serves as a perfect opportunity for all chapters to examine their candidate education program and decide for themselves if the program is designed to help them succeed by harnessing and encouraging the contributions of all members or if the candidate program is holding the chapter back from becoming the best it can be. Your chapter and your alumni expect Love. Honor. Truth. Nothing Less.  

© 2015-2022 Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: (540) 463-1869 | Fax: (540) 463-1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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