This weekend, former MLB player Gregg Zaun spoke about violent hazing that he experienced as a first-year player on the Baltimore Orioles from Cal Ripken Jr. According to Zaun, Ripken and others repeatedly physically assaulted him, wrote “rookie” on his forehead, shoved ice down his pants, and forced him to miss batting practice. Zaun reports Ripken to be the leader of these hazing behaviors, a notable detail since Ripken released an anti-bullying book in 2013.
Following these statements, Zaun took to twitter to offer a “sorry if anyone was offended” non-apology for his remarks which glorified and advocated for hazing in “any industry”. Fortunately, numerous MLB fans have been quick to speak up and counter Zaun’s “boys will be boys” minimization and justification of hazing, as shown below. With numerous, high profile examples of hazing in sport occurring recently, it is our hope that if Cal Ripken Jr was indeed involved in the hazing incidents that Zaun described that he will come forward, directly address his past mistakes, and use his considerable influence in youth sport to advocate for anti-hazing programming and awareness. We also hope that this controversy will provide an opportunity for Zaun to reflect and realize that his experience with hazing is not universal. Hazing can cause serious emotional, psychological, and physical harm and therefore has no place in sport or society.
@GreggZaun Gregg your story telling was ridiculous. You should be ashamed. There is no room in sports for "hazing"
— Spencer Dorward (@SpenceDorward) February 23, 2015
@GreggZaun Many winning teams value respect, integrity, and self sacrifice from the top down. Your comments value none of the above.
— Nathan Janzen (@JanzenNathan) February 23, 2015
@GreggZaun all due respect, but you said you were physically abused, and then advocated for others to endure such treatment. That is wrong.
— Sean Keating (@Sean_Keating) February 22, 2015
— Robbie Gr (@Robbie_gr) February 22, 2015
@GreggZaun that approach to 'helping' ruins lives and has made countless people quit sports and suffer emotional trauma. Please NEVER coach.
— Paul West (@firstcausenyc) February 23, 2015
@GreggZaun What did they teach you? I'd rather team leaders treat me with respect. Getting beat up over childish bully games teaches nothing
— Jacob M. (@RealLifeHoser) February 22, 2015