Recently, the practice of NFL veterans forcing rookies to pay for dinners that cost tens of thousands of dollars has resurfaced in the news. Garrett Wilson expresses shock when told he will have to spend $75,000 on dinner for veteran teammates. One former NFL player is calling for an end to the practice.
Former NFL wide receiver Torrey Smith tweeted that rookie dinners are a terrible tradition and singled out fellow wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who was in his ninth season in the NFL when the Ravens drafted Smith in 2011, for defending him from practice.
“Rookie Dinners is BS! I’m glad I had an OG who realized that teaching me to waste money is STUPID! This does not prove that you belong to the team. Hello Anquan Boldin!” Smith wrote.
Smith noted that few NFL rookies are capable of suddenly becoming millionaires, and a supportive veteran teammate will help these rookies learn sound financial management rather than silly practices like meals that cost more than a good new car.
“Dudes come into the league with no financial literacy and no real problems, but people think 50K dinners are cool! NO!” Smith wrote.
Smith is right. People defend rookie dinners by pointing out that millionaire athletes can afford them, but that’s not the point. Yes, they can afford this particular dinner. What they can’t afford is to learn at 21 that being young and rich means regularly paying excessive bills for other people. This is how many rich 21-year-olds become ruined 41-year-olds. Stories of NFL players making millions of dollars and having nothing left by middle age abound.
Rookie dinners are a practice that should end, and it’s up to veteran players to do the right thing and end them.