Wednesday, December 21, 2016

$16,255 Dinner Bill Hints at NFL hazing culture

Here’s what passes for a good time in the NFL. A group of veteran players gather up an unsuspecting rookie and take him out to dinner. Over the next few hours they order heaping slabs of steak and bottle upon bottle of wine from the restaurant’s secret storage chest. After, they wash it all down with a couple bottles of Dom Perignon.

When the bill arrives they propose a game. How about a little credit card roulette? Everyone throws their card in a hat and the waiter or waitress is asked to close their eyes then pull out a card. This is “the winner,” the one stuck with the check. Of course the game is rigged to be sure the rookie’s card will be selected. The bill makes his heart sink.

Maybe it’s $15,000.

Or $17,000.

Or $22,599.

Everybody laughs. Ha. Ha. Can you believe it? Oh the poor sap. There you go kid! Welcome to the league!

On Monday, that rookie was Houston Texans safety KJ Dillon who was handed a $16,255.20 bill for dinner with teammates. Included was $349.65 in sea bass and a whopping $7,770 of Hennessy Pardis Imperial. Not included was the gratuity, which should have been about $3,200 if Dillon was being only mildly generous. Buried deep in the check was a $12.95 Caesar salad that was apparently all Dillon ate according to his Twitter feed, where he placed a photograph of the bill and informed his followers that he didn’t even partake in the $7,770 of Hennessy since he doesn’t even drink.

The whole thing made for a good joke around the Internet. Hey, look at the silly rookie! Until former NFL punter Adam Podlesh tweeted a public note to Dillon that read: “For those who don’t think the NFL player bankruptcy epidemic has anything to do with veterans passing down the culture…Exhibit A. [Dillon] is a rookie on IR with a split in his contract. After tip he spent almost 7% of his post-tax paragraph 5 salary this year ... that is the same relative spending as a $50k a year new employee spending almost $3000 on his co-workers.”

Leave it to a punter to shame the meat-and-potato behemoths in the locker room. At some point athletes have to understand there is little redeeming social value in burying a supposedly beloved and trusted teammate with a staggering dinner bill. The legacy of professional athletes squandering their money is extreme. Ten thousand here. Twenty thousand there. Suddenly the whole pile is gone. Everybody shakes their head and mutters about another dumb athlete who couldn’t take care of what he earned.

by Les Carpenter, The Guardian |  Read more:
Image: K.J. Dillon