ALLEN PARK — Back in 2001 when Lions center Dominic Raiola was a rookie, hazing was not an issue.
“When I was a rookie I never said a word, hard to believe,’’ Raiola said. “If people talked to me I talked to them that’s just the mentality I had as a rookie.’’
“I had to sing like some Don Ho song in the (training camp) lunchroom in Saginaw,’’ said Raiola who is from Hawaii.
Not much has changed when it comes to hazing the Lions’ rookies.
Coach Jim Schwartz has hazing rules which he would not specify.
“We do allow stuff like guys carrying helmets in and guys fetching water and making runs for food before we go on away trips,’’ Schwartz said. “I think that’s part of guys sort of paying their dues in the NFL. We don’t allow hazing the way you would consider hazing in training camp.”
No players are taped to goal posts or harassed.
Hazing has become a hot topic in the NFL due to the alleged harassment by Miami Dolphins' veteran Richie Incognito that led second-year tackle Jonathan Martin to leave the team. The situation is still under investigation.
The Lions have created atmosphere that just would not allow that.
The veterans embrace the rookies, as they should.
“This locker room is kind of like our household away from home. You never want to see — I don’t like going home to a roughed-up household, I never liked it when I was a kid,’’ Raiola said. “You try to embrace those guys because you know what we need those guys to win. You know what? Like them or not they’re a part of the Detroit Lions — that’s family to me. I can’t see not treating them with respect.
“Our rookies on the O-line they know what they have to do. We don’t ask much — food maybe on Saturdays before the road games, cold water before meetings start.
“We love those guys and keep them close to us because their growth is important to the success of this team,’’ Raiola said. “ ... Once they get drafted and are a Detroit Lion they’re in, you don’t have to earn anything, you’re family.’’
Running back Reggie Bush spent the last two seasons with the Dolphins, but he didn’t want to comment on the Martin and Incognito situation.
He did respond when asked just who is responsible to keep a good working locker room.
“Coaches, owners, GM, players it’s everybody — it’s not just one person,’’ Bush said. “You win as a team, you lose as a team.’’
And that includes rookies and young players.