Connor Barwin wrote a lengthy piece on MMQB today about NFL locker room culture, which has been the subject of much discussion after the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin clusterfuck and Michael Sam’s coming out. An excerpt:
I am sure an MLB clubhouse has its perks, hockey players must be really fun to crush beers with, and the NBA is probably, well . . . an interesting place to work. (Can you imagine having a locker next to J.R. Swish?) But in my estimation, absolutely nothing compares to an NFL locker room. I played a lot of different sports growing up. None of them quite creates the brotherhood, the camaraderie, the fraternity that exists on a football team. Dating back to high school, two-a-day practices in 90-degree heat, lifting weights before school started, varsity jackets, all these things serve to create a bond that didn’t exist among other teams. We sacrificed together, we sweated together, we bled together. The times we had in the locker room back then were some of the greatest (albeit most juvenile) memories of my life. And to be honest, many of us haven’t grown up very much since.
What we end up with in the NFL is a room full of 65 of the most athletic, driven, and—let’s face it—reckless men in the country. Not many sane, rational individuals would voluntarily choose to play a game that threatens to take years off your life, possibly lead to CTE, and leave your joints feeling like rusty bicycle chains. What you do have, however, is one of the most diverse melting pots in the world. “Parks and Rec” has nothing on the character ensemble I work with every day. Cowboys from Texas locker next to rappers from L.A., guys blasting “Yeezus” on the stereo across from guys talking about Jesus with the chaplain, married guys with three kids next to married guys with three girlfriends.
This is a really good piece from Barwin. It’s your recommended reading for the day.