This story first broke a few weeks ago when Clarksville High football coach Jim Snider resigned after allegations of hazing at a football camp earlier this summer. The school has been investigating, but a local TV station in Nashville, WSMV, talked to team captain Bryan Merriweather who had an interesting assessment of the incident: it wasn’t hazing (just good old fashion “horseplay”) but if it was hazing it had been going on for years so you couldn’t blame this year’s crop of upperclassmen because they got beat up when they were freshman.
Actually, this is kind of typical for high school hazings: the kids are told not o haze each other, but there are “traditions” at the schools that no one actually considers hazing because they’re, well, “traditions.” And that’s where the problem is: schools sometimes go to great lengths to tell student-athletes not to haze, but then don’t really get specific on what hazing actually is. Which is why this kind of thing happens.
“When we were freshmen and sophomores, we got beat up because it was our first year at camp,” said Clarksville High School senior and team captain Bryan Merriweather. Merriweather was suspended for three games because of his alleged involvement in hazing. He’ll now have to wait a while longer to take to the field, for his first official coin toss to start a game.
“It wasn’t beating … It was horse playing, that’s what we called it, and we made sure everybody understood that from the beginning of the thing,” said Merriweather of the football camp incident.
Merriweather said it all started with a prank from a younger team member, then it escalated. But he said nothing was planned, and no one was forced to participate. “No, it wasn’t dangerous, because before it could get out of hand, I would stop it,” said Merriweather.
What he said he doesn’t understand is why he and about five other team members are now getting punished for something he says has been happening for decades, something he witnessed every year he has been on the team, and something he says almost everyone on this year’s team took part in.
“No, it’s not new. It’s been going on before I even got in high school,” said Merriweather.
Well, regardless of what Mr. Merriweather says, the school now says that it WAS hazing
The investigation showed that the athletes at the football camp in Pleasantview in July were not properly supervised and that individual and group hazing were confirmed. It also showed that parents and students revealed inappropriate behaviors and hazing occurred in previous camps.
Clarksville High Officials Say Football Camp Hazing Isn’t New (News Channel 5)