These are adults. Regardless of how you spin it, these are adults. 20, 30, 40 year old men who are forcing their OWN teammates to carry their gear and making their own teammates look like idiots. Some teams tie players to the goal posts and spray them with a hose. Others give them crazy haircuts. Other teams force them to carry equipment (like the case in New England).
Should one of these rookies stand up to the veterans, they get ridiculed and criticized. Look no further than last year when Dez Bryant refused to carry Roy Williams’ pads. Everyone got on Bryant’s case for not doing it. I look at all of this in a different way. I thought Bryant had a right to turn down Williams without getting criticized.
Jason Garrett, head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, has implemented something that Bill Parcells did in 2003. All rookies receive helmets without their patented star on the side. Garrett believes that you must earn the star. But once you sign a contract with a team, the front office and coaches have decided that they want you on to the roster which means you earned your star because you earned the contract. The player didn’t make that decision, the coach did when he signed him. Do free agents get a star? Yes. What makes free agents different from rookies? They have proven their stuff in the NFL and got a contract with the Cowboys? Rookies have proven their stuff (just not in the NFL) and got a contract too. They should get a star. I thought Garrett would be smart enough to realize this.
Garret has the right idea to instill into his team that the star means something but he is doing it the wrong way. Separating the rookies from the veterans is never good for locker room morale. Plus, it is not fair to the rookies. But, when it comes down to it, nothing is going to change even though it is wrong.