A New Mexico baseball player is serving a 10-game suspension that included a three-day ban from school for a pair of incidents that blur the line between full-on hazing and ill conceived horseplay.
As reported by Albuquerque CBS affiliate KRQE, an unnamed 16-year-old Manzano baseball player was handed the aforementioned hefty suspension following a pair of incidents that inspired Manzano athletic director Matthew Espinosa to contact local police.
Here’s how KQRE described the two incidents, both of which were perpetrated on a 14-year-old teammate:
Earlier this month, the 16-year-old was seen rubbing mud on the buttocks of the 14-year-old at baseball practice “to harass” him. The act, the report says, is called “(explitive) staining” – meant to make the person look like they’ve had an accident. …
The report also details another incident in which the 16-year-old “tea-bagged” the same 14-year-old in a locker room. “Tea-bagging” is when a male places his genitalia near or on the face of another.
The 14-year-old, who was interviewed by police, said the older player was fully clothed when he did the “tea-bagging.” He also said that he laughed after this incident and the mud incident.
A critical detail in the encounters between the teens comes at the close of KRQE’s report, where it notes that the victim “laughed after” both incidents questioned by officials. Naturally, this raises a unique question: Can a student be guilty of hazing if the victim doesn’t feel he or she is being hazed at all?
There is no question that the acts were in poor taste, and have been punished as such; Manzano officials eventually justified the suspension under the terms of bullying rather than hazing, in part because the 14-year-old victim, “adamantly indicated he did not,” want to pursue any criminal charges. Whether they should be indicative of a larger problem at the school, or in baseball and high school sports culture in general, is another question entirely.