Recently the Philomath High School in Oregon has called it quits on their varsity football season due to reports of hazing on 11 freshmen players at conditioning camp over the summer. The season was cancelled in an effort to break the cycle and bring healing after investigators found that freshmen players were hazed by six upperclassmen. Philomath is a tiny town with little to offer for entertainment and some community members are disappointed in the loss of their Friday night games calling the cancellation “a little harsh.” Some are even blaming the victims for “the season’s cancellation and some of the students’ expulsions,” but Andrew Selsky writes that they should “instead be recognized for their courage.” While hazing has existed for generations, it is only getting worse. Experts say that the vicious cycle must be ended as victims often go on to become perpetrators as a way of “doing to others what was done to them.”
When it comes to Rules Following, the victims of this hazing case followed strict obedience. They didn’t think about the context or consequences of what they were doing, they were just being told by upperclassmen that they had to follow through. The actions of those involved were not morally optimal, but I can also see it as the coaches following negligent obedience too. The article stated that the coaches did nothing to stop the hazing and are now all put on leave with one assistant coach even being charged. They were the ones put in command so I feel that they failed to exercise due care by doing less than they could have in this case. While the upperclassmen who administered the hazing can clearly be seen as lacking integrity and virtue, we’re actually looking at the victims’ obedience in this case. I also think it’s sad that people in the community are so upset over canceling a football season simply for their entertainment. If one person is spared from going through hazing or one upperclassmen learns a valuable lesson, then I think it’s worth canceling a single season of football.
No, it may not be fair to the other players on the team who were not involved, but at the end of the day it only takes one person to speak up and create change to end this cycle of strict obedience. Especially if “followers” are statistically proven to become the ones inflicting the harm in the future. I don’t think these victims should be blamed, but it does bring up a valid point of being careful to not follow ALL rules if it means letting someone else short circuit our own judgment like philosopher Davis said. It may be hard to avoid in some cases, but if we let someone else cloud our judgment, then we are essentially pushing our own morals aside and following strict obedience without considering the consequences.