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Hazing is common, and not always terrible, but there is a line

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold
The Truth Network Radio
July 14, 2023 4:04 pm

Hazing is common, and not always terrible, but there is a line

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold

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July 14, 2023 4:04 pm

“Being in that locker room made me feel so…”

Michael Felder, CFB Analyst, who was hazed while he played football but understands there’s a definite line that can be crossed.

Northwestern is in some hot water lately because of their hazing allegations, so who does Michael believe has to take the fall for this? From Michael’s experience at UNC, where did he still feel the safest in school; even dealing with hazing? What were some examples of hazing Michael experienced that he feels is acceptable?

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Northwestern has had a rough week. They had hazing in their football program. It cost the head coach his job. It's important to remember that Pat Fitzgerald is not just an outstanding, was an outstanding coach at Northwestern, but he is one of the rare cases where the alum comes back and crushes it.

Crushes it. And we're not just talking about any alum. In modern Northwestern Wildcats football, Fitzgerald is, I don't even think it's close, unquestionably their best player. So you've got that.

You have, you know, the prodigal son coming home. And he also became an incredible football coach. Seventeen seasons until Monday. Nine winning seasons. And I understand, nine winning seasons in 17?

Man, that's not that good. It's Northwestern. That ain't Michigan. It's not Ohio State. It's the academic school in the Big Ten. Not that there aren't other good schools, that's not the point, but that's the one that's about academics, not about athletics. I mean, to draw the comparison, it was sort of be like Duke doing that in football, which, as we have highlighted already last week, Mike Elko had a great season, and David Caulkleff had really built a culture of winning at Duke.

Until the last couple of years, and it had fallen apart, and just had not worked out. But, so, we had that. The baseball coach just got fired from basically being a jackass, bullying, and abusing his players.

What, 16 players from that program entered the transfer portal after this year? But, baseball coach just got fired. So, Northwestern is undergoing some, we'll just say, transition right now. But it brings up the question about the hazing culture of sports, and how different it is today than it was. And I'm not saying that it should have been, that it was okay, you know, back in the day. I mean, hazing takes on a lot of different forms. You know, there's stuff that, you know, veterans make rookies do in NFL locker rooms. Sing fight songs, carry this, carry equipment, you carry the veterans' equipment out to the practice. I mean, that stuff's basically innocent fun.

But, when it becomes sexual in nature, as it apparently did at Northwestern, and abusive and psychologically damaging, now you've crossed the line. Michael Felder from stadium, at In the Bleachers on Twitter, Michael Felder from stadium, at In the Bleachers on Twitter. Also, It's Felder, the podcast, check that out.

Get a subscription, learn how to cook. My friend, Michael, I know you had, I listened to the tease, I saw the tease for episode 32. So, let's start with hazing. You played at UNC. Tell me about it. Yeah, I mean, there are two different lines, right? And you mentioned, I heard you coming in, you were talking about crossing a line versus not crossing a line. And so, one, like, I understand, right? And this is the way that I've been trying to describe it, when folks have had me on to talk about it. There are rites of passage.

And that means carrying pads, or carrying the ball bag, or, you know, you have the early workout, instead of having the workout that works better for your schedule, you have to do this extra stuff. So I get that. But then there's a line that gets crossed on that line gets crosses, whether it's sexual assault, or is racial, like anything that's like, when people are being racist toward you or to you or trying to make you be performatively racist, or perform and how they think that your race should perform, which is one of those things that stood out to me with respect to Northwestern, especially as a school and that prides itself on having an incredibly diverse university community.

Yeah. And so when that line is crossed, you have to something that somebody has to take the fall for that. And I think, shout out again, kudos to those student reporters, they did an amazing job of fully exposing everything and hunting, hunting, like they found people, they found other people and asked them about their experiences. And they did a full blown, they did a full job reporting that.

And I think that is something we definitely have to give credit to. And guess what, Pat Fitzgerald, you're the guy that's got to take the fall for this because, and this is one of my favorite things to say, when it comes to sport, you're either coaching it, or you're allowing it to happen. You're either coaching it, which means you're telling these guys to do it.

Because that's how you think a team gets built. Or you're allowing it to happen, which means you're turning a blind eye to it. What is it, quote unquote, plausible deniability. And I've, here's what I've realized, Gold, I've got a double standard. You know what, not ashamed of it.

The double standard that I have is plausible deniability with respect to guys getting paid money under the table. Fine with that. Don't care. Truly don't need that to be reported on. Don't think we need guys hunting down who was the bag man and all that stuff.

Do not care. But when it comes to stuff like this, I do care because the safest place, the place I felt the most safe when I was at UNC was in that locker room. The safest place for me was in that locker room. The safe, like I never felt more of a sense of community.

I didn't connect the safe. Listen, we're all from North Carolina. Most of us, at least at the school, right?

We got what? 80% of the kids are from the state of North Carolina. But I've never felt more connected to people than when I was in that locker room. And I've never felt more connected to people than when I was in that locker room. And it was guys from Michigan, it was guys from Texas, it was guys from Florida, it was guys from North Carolina, obviously, guys from Georgia, Virginia.

But our experience was so shared and so together. And did we do like, what would count to me is what to me counts as hazing that we did was when we had the victory bill, and I know we lost it one year and I'm sorry about that, folks. That was that was bad. We should never have lost the Duke. This is not this is pretty good, dude.

This is great. Yeah, we were we were worse UNC at that point. And so we lost it one year. But when we had that victory bell, you come in and your class gets a name, right? So it's Oh, to coming through Oh, three new breed. Oh, four ready for war, whatever it is, right. And so they would call you all out. And in that locker pit, we would all come out. If you're in Oh, three, and they call out Oh, two, you guys would wrestle we didn't hit. No punching in the face.

Absolutely not. No punching. It was wrestling was grappling, right? It's the same thing we did in Matt drills. And Matt drills was a coach actual sanction thing. Okay, but this was just finding out where you fit in the hierarchy of a football team. Now, if you're a really good player, Ronnie McGill, you don't have to participate in this. But the other guys did, right. And so, but you also did position groups, right? It was wide receivers versus defensive backs, or it was tight ends and running backs against the linebackers. And you wrestle, you grapple, but at the end of the day, you help each other up, you hit the showers.

And then you go out and have dinner together, you go out for drinks, whatever it is. And that was a difference for me. That's what stood out to me was like, this is what we've seen reported out of Northwestern doesn't feel like team building.

Right feel it feels like like, because remember, go back when I go back to those talking about fighting or wrestling, if you will. That was DBs coming together to help other DBs. Right. That makes your room stronger. That was wide receivers coming together to help other wide receivers. Same thing with linebackers, same thing with offensive line versus defensive line, whole deal.

That makes your room stronger. But also, when you go 03 versus 02 or 03 versus 04, that makes your class stronger. And so your class understands, we got to help each other out. This guy's a little bit weaker at this, we got to figure it out.

So that class sticks together. Oh, three, I still talk to all my own theories. I still talk to my guys.

Those are my boys. Same thing with the rude boys, rude boys, you know, like we are still thick as thieves. Like we get down like, we don't see each other all the time. We don't talk every day. But when we get together, we get together because we we are. That's we're a unit. And we still I still talk to the white those wide receivers like I'm still friends with Jesse Holly guy that I came into school with because when 03 hit, 03 was me and him and against 02 or 01.

We were together. What we're seeing here is more humiliation. Yes, that's, that's the exactly right word. It's humiliation. It's demeaning. It makes people feel small. And I just, I don't know, I grew up my parents are teachers. Yeah.

And the biggest thing that I've learned over the course of in my lifetime was I'm one of my I don't know, 38 39. But at the end of the day, right? You don't want to make people feel small.

Right? You don't ever want to make people feel small. For your organization. And this is some one of those things we get into kind of even into managerial types, right and work.

Sure. In an office situation. You don't want to make people feel small.

When you make people feel small. Yes, they'll show up. And yes, they'll do what they have to do. But it doesn't make them feel comfortable.

And again, I'll go back circle back to this point. Being in that locker room made me feel so safe, compared to be out at you would see in chapel and chapel is not a bad chapel. It was good place to be. Absolutely. But that locker room made me feel a lot more safe, a lot more connected, because my teammates and I were all going through the same things. And so that's the part for me that you can't play football. If you hate your every single day, you can't do it.

You cannot do it. And that's what they did. They stripped these kids of their personal dignity, but they also stripped them of the ability to put in the work, the time, the effort that it takes to play football. And obviously, we're talking about Northwestern to do the intellectual work of being on campus as a student. No question. I want to ask you one more thing about it. Clearly at Northwestern, they could have been wrestling, but I think it would have been naked oil wrestling based on the reports that we have read, especially in The Daily.

I got a couple of things I want to get to. We got like four minutes left. So here's the thing about, I really believe that the university thought that nobody would care. And the initial reaction by them, two-week unpaid vacation in the summer, which means nothing, would be sufficient.

And then the students went to work here and just brought all of that stuff to the forefront. And now they went, well, it's obviously worse than it was. Do you think, I mean, is it that cynical to think that they just thought that they could get away with a minimal punishment like that, but the stuff was really bad?

Yeah, I think they thought they could get away with a minimal punishment. They don't want to get rid of Pat Fitzgerald. He's the best coach they've ever had. Yeah, and the best fundraiser they've ever had.

Best fundraiser they've ever had. But, excuse me, because they got the Cubbies. Bears are getting ready to start training camp. You got the White Sox. You got the Bulls. Bulls just made a draft pick. You got the Black Hawks.

You got all this going on. They're like, no, he's paying attention to us. And what they don't realize is college football is a different beast. College football is a sport that people care about out of region, out of market. And college football is also a sport that people are focused in on nonstop. And so they're thinking, well, we don't care about this. So why would anybody else care about it? Same thing with baseball, right? Nobody cares about baseball. And they're like, oh no, people care about baseball. So they didn't realize that.

And then they had to back pedal. And I don't know if I'm going to put show, I'm not going to sit here and place some adulation on this on show. I'm not. Because he should have made the right call at the beginning. He didn't get new information. Same information.

Same information. Nothing happened between Friday afternoon and Monday afternoon to change his mind, right? The only thing that happened was, oh, somebody picked this up.

And what he didn't, here's what they don't realize. And this is how you can tell Northwestern don't care about sports. They didn't realize that week, the next week and a half, the 10 day span, ain't nothing going on, baby. Ain't nothing going on.

So we can pay attention to you. You're not going to sneak this under the rug. If this was Super Bowl weekend, okay, maybe you could sneak it in. If this was the middle of the season and we're worried about Alabama versus Georgia and they got to get into here, maybe you can sneak that one in.

If this is college football playoff time, maybe you sneak it in. But the reality of it is you already called for the investigation. You know the results of the investigation.

The only difference is from when you did the investigation to when you handed out the penalty, the students also did some investigating. And so I think about this a lot as like, I don't know. Have you seen the movie Snatch?

Yes. So I think about this a lot at the end of the movie when the guy, he gave me the shooter and he doesn't realize, oh, they've been working behind the scenes on you, my man. They got you under control.

Right? Like he didn't pull a face. Brad Pitt didn't pull a face because he had intentions on running it over. And that's what the students did. That's that student paper. They were like, no, we're going to get to the bottom of it. And you think you're going to pull the wool over our eyes. I'll tell you what, we're the eyes.

Let's knock this thing out because you're going to have to make a decision because this isn't the culture that I signed up for. And that's something I really respect about the student reporters, about Northwestern as a community. I've talked to many Northwestern fans. They're not upset. They're not upset that Pat Fitzgerald is gone.

They're upset that this was allowed to happen and that they thought they would get away with it. Isn't that the proper, that's the proper position to have? Yes.

It cost you the most popular player and the best coach you've ever had, but that's the healthier position to take. We're out of time. I have other questions for you, but will you come hang out with me a little bit in Charlotte in a couple of weeks? Yeah, absolutely, man. I'm already getting credentialed, so I'm ready to rock and roll. Whoa, a credential for ACC football kickoff. That's right. You're based in Charlotte now. You don't have to go back to Chicago. All right, good for you. Michael, I appreciate your time, my man.

No problem, man. You take it easy. All right, go subscribe to It's Felder. You get the podcast. You also get cooking tips. I can't understand anything that's better than that. So Felder is the absolute best. Real, one quick thing. Also, based on other reporting, I have a hard time believing that this culture doesn't predate Fitzgerald as a coach and probably goes all the way back to Fitzgerald as a player. I think that behavior is learned.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-14 18:35:25 / 2023-07-14 18:42:11 / 7

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