Former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith took to Twitter on Tuesday to criticize a long-held NFL tradition: rookie dinners. It’s a common practice around the league for position groups to go out for dinners with rookies, order extravagant meals and expensive drinks, and force the first-year player (or players) in a position group to pick up the tab.
In Smith’s social media post, the eight-year NFL player called the rookie dinner tradition “BS” and thanked Anquan Boldin for ensuring he was not subjected to one during his rookie year with the Baltimore Ravens. Smith wrote, “I’m glad I had an OG that realized teaching me to blow money is STUPID! It does not prove you belong on a team.” Additionally, Smith cited many players’ struggles with managing their finances as an added reason to end the practice, “Dudes come into the league with no financial literacy and real problems, but folks think 50k dinners are cool! NAH!”
Rookie dinners are BS! I’m glad I had an OG that realized teaching me to blow money is STUPID! It does not prove you belong on a team. Shout out to @AnquanBoldin !— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) June 21, 2022
Dudes come into the league with no financial literacy and real problems but folks think 50k dinners are cool! NAH!
The conversation around NFL rookie dinners picked up last week when rookie Jets receiver Garrett Wilson was warned about the practice and realized what it meant live on air in a conversation with former NFL players Ryan Clark, Fred Taylor, and Channing Crowder on The Pivot podcast. The former players warned Wilson that he would likely have to pick up the tab on a bill for potentially $75,000. Wilson was understandably surprised.
New Episode of @thepivot up NOW!!— Fred Taylor (@FredTaylorMade) June 17, 2022
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR CHANNEL
Welcome to the @NFL @GarrettWilson_V and thanks for hanging out with us. Get ready for that “BLANK CHECK DINNER” aka the rookie dinner @Realrclark25@OfficialCrowder pic.twitter.com/dXkoSgpp07
Smith’s critique did not mention another precarious reality for NFL rookies, which is most of them are in much worse financial situations than the veterans on their teams. While Wilson was the 10th overall pick and received significant salary guarantees, many rookies do not have the same guarantees and have base salaries barely above the league minimum.
Former NFL cornerback Domonique Foxworth was asked about the practice on ESPN’s Debatable on Wednesday and offered his opposition to the practice. Foxworth said the only rookie dinner he ever attended in his career was his own, and as a third-round pick, he was forced to pay for a bill that was roughly the value of an entire game check.
What do you think about the practice of NFL position groups running up the bill on rookie players? Do you have a problem with veterans going out of their way to cost a rookie money? Let us know in the comments.