Sadly, hazing rituals have long been associated with the initiation into school athletics; an act that has unfortunately become normalized among high schools as well as universities.
Hazing is a cruel act, used to harm or embarrass new athletes joining the team, though it is considered by most to be harmless. On the contrary, not only can certain hazing rituals be considered physical and/or sexual abuse, but hazing also leads to several deaths a year, usually from alcohol intoxication. A recent incident, involving a 14 year old boy, came to surface when the boy’s mother came to find out about her son being physically and sexually assaulted while attending football camp. Anthony Brookman, along with three other teammates, were cornered in their high school locker room following football practice and were physically and sexually assaulted by three older boys on their team.
Prosecutors stated that “The defendant’s conduct was astonishingly cruel. These crimes were intended to inflict pain, degrade and humiliate the weaker members of the football team”.
After experiencing hazing first hand, Anthony Brookman wanted to come out with his story to make others aware. Brookman states:
“You see a lot of hazing on TV, but that’s all it is, it’s the news reporter maybe talking with the other news reporter and a picture of the school. Nobody ever steps forward. I want people to actually see my face and see what people did to me”.
With recent stories in the news about NHL players coming out with their personal experiences with hazing, and all the support and interest in Brookman’s story, school president, Jefferson Thompson believes that this could be the turning point where more people may feel empowered to come forward and share their own stories. These acts collectively work towards making hazing a thing of the past.