NFL Stars Speak Out Against ‘Rookie Dinner’ Tradition That Can Cost New Players Up to $55,000


Players in the National Football League are partitioned on the concept of a “freshman dinner” — a long-held tradition in the league where another player can pay an exuberant amount of money to treat his teammates to a meal.

In another piece in the New York Times, the publication takes a more profound glance at the tradition, which may cost recently drafted players upwards of $55,000, as Dez Bryant had to pay to take care of his Cattle rustlers teammates in 2010 at Pappas Brothers. Steakhouse. Other instances of tenderfoot dinners include D’Andre Walker of the Tennessee Titans paying more than $10,000 for a team dinner at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Nashville in 2019, or when Deebo Samuel dealt with a $3,700 greenback for his San Francisco 49ers teammates in 2019.

“This dinner starts a trend for a way of life that the majority of players cannot afford to do and ought not be living anyway,” former NFL player Torrey Smith said in a new interview, per the Times.

Smith chose to speak out after he saw a clasp from “The Turn” podcast of Planes player Garrett Wilson learning about the dinners’ expense.

Smith also stood up against youngster dinners on Twitter in June, writing that players “come into the league with no financial literacy and real issues except for people think 50k dinners are cool.”

Smith’s former teammate Anquan Boldin also added that he saw newbie dinners as wasteful.

“Rather than folks going out and spending $50,000 to $75,000 on dinner, I just felt like fellows would be better off going out and helping their mother instead,” Boldin said.

These dinners generally take place at top of the line steakhouses before each NFL season, with veteran players some of the time intentionally ordering the most costly things on the menu, according to the Times. Ryan Clark, cohost of “The Turn,” argued that vets usually attempt to pay special attention to youngsters at the dinners, as players on the Giants did when he joined in 2002, offering to part the bill with him.

The dinner bills can be divided by different players assuming there are various newbies playing one position, and first-round picks usually have to hack up more money given that they’ll be starting with a higher salary. Clark compared the dinners to fraternity pledging, and said something’s passed down as a tradition.

“I did it, and you are going to get it done,” he said, “and because you made it happen, you are going to make another new kid on the block make it happen.”

Channing Crowder, a former linebacker for the Miami Dolphins, said he paid a weighty bill in his youngster season, comparing it to “putting your pads on before practice.”

Also a co-host of the podcast, Crowder argued that a freshman dinner “isn’t putting no one in the unfortunate house.”

During his 2005 tenderfoot dinner, he paid generally $30,000, which equated to about 5% of his starting salary of $588,000 for part of the season.

One player even arranged two containers of the expensive cognac, Louis XIII.

“On the off chance that I have to burn through $30,000 on a dinner for my O.G.s, Vonnie Holliday, Kevin Carter, all the folks I watched growing up,” Crowder said. “It wasn’t so big of a deal.”

Houston restaurant proprietor James McGhee let the Times know that bills range from $5,000 to about $25,000. Be that as it may, even the lower end may be unreasonable for some.

Greg Hopkins, who is in charge of the Changing the Local area nonprofit, said a portion of his NFL trainees don’t have a lot of financial experience.


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“For tenderfoots coming in, especially in the event that you are not as high-drafted, you shouldn’t actually be thinking about spending that sort of money,” he said.