Sports Hazing

Sports Hazing

Trusted and Accomplished Lawyers for Victims of Sports Hazing

Hazing has been an ongoing issue in both youth and elite sports teams for years. Athletes are particularly vulnerable to hazing because it’s regarded as tradition and team building and good for character, even though, in fact, it tends to harm the group’s ability to work together. Sports hazing, sadly, can diminish confidence, cause self-doubt, cause poor self-esteem, and even trigger suicidal thoughts and depression. Sometimes victims of abusive hazing become the perpetrators and claim to value hazing. In this way a cycle of abusive hazing is created. If you were subject to sports hazing, you should seek legal counsel. Get in touch with the attorneys of Phillips & Associates if you're  uncertain about whether you have any rights after going through hazing. We are lawyers who can define your hazing and offer free initial consultations and represent clients on a contingency fee basis.


Hazing includes any activity expected of athletes joining a sport team when that activity humiliates or abuses them. Examples of hazing activities include: 

  • Exposure to the elements 
  • Forced calisthenics 
  • Tattooing or branding 
  • Degrading conduct with sexual or otherwise bigoted elements 
  • Being thrown in water or mud 
  • Forced consumption of disgusting things or alcohol 
  • Wearing embarrassing clothing 
  • Drinking alcohol 
  • Destroying property 
  • Being beaten, whipped, paddled or otherwise physically abused. 
  • Assault and unwanted touching, whether sexual or not. 
  • Sexual abuse 
  • Gang rape


Hazing can result in serious physical and emotional consequences. Since hazing often includes dangerous and degrading activities, athletes who have been subject to it may experience very negative psychological consequences. You may experience humiliation, degradation, a decrease in confidence, self-doubt, depression, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, helplessness, and other negative effects. You might feel you need to quit the sport, the team, or the school. You may experience negative consequences in your other relationships, too, including both family, romantic, and friend relationships. It can be a devastating loss. These experiences can vary significantly based on who you are, the hazing activity, and the environment, but in no case should you have to go through the aftermath of harmful hazing alone. Our attorneys can help.


Physical assault occurs when hazing activities involve unwanted touching that is the condition upon which an initiate is recruited, allowed to affiliate or continue to participate. For example, if you were required to undergo a beating by older teammates because you made a mistake during practice, you were subject to physical assault. Sometimes sports hazing also involves sexual elements, such as being forced to walk around nude and suffer unwanted sexualized touching, or serious sexual assault or even gang rape occurs. These are not behaviors you should have to endure to be on a team.


The Northwestern football hazing scandal involved a coach and college [link to college hazing] that tolerated abusive hazing rituals. These rituals involved in the scandal included the following: 

  • Punishments in which 8-10 upperclassmen would hold down a player and dry hump him in a dark locker room. 
  • So-called Shrek claps in which upperclassmen on the team would humiliate the player who made a mistake during practice by running around him and clapping their hands above his head. 
  • A degrading practice called carwash in which the players would line up and stand naked at the entrance of the showers so that freshmen were forced to rub against these men to take showers. 
  • The practice of requiring freshmen to drink as many Gatorade shakes as they could in 10 minutes and would be subject to the dry humping punishment if they refused. 
  • In a naked center-quarterback exchange, freshmen were forced to execute a centerquarterback snap in which both people were naked. 

These hazing rituals sometimes involved bullying with sexual and racist overtones and were conducted under the coach’s supervision. The school didn’t act to resolve credible student reports that dated back to 2014.


Our New York City attorneys represent those who have been hazed in New York including Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Nassau County. We are also in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and can help throughout the U.S. Complete our online form or call us at (212) 248-7431 if you believe you or your child may have a claim. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis and provide free consultations.

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