The "rookie dinner" — where veteran players go out to eat with new teammates, load up on the most expensive items on the menu, then make the rookie(s) pick up the bill — has become the stuff of NFL legend, but a worrying symbol for a league intent on cutting down on any hints of bullying. So you can understand the concerns that arose when Philadelphia Eagles lineman Evan Mathis tweeted a photo of a $64,055.76 restaurant receipt with the message "Teaching rookies a lesson."
Teaching rookies a lesson... pic.twitter.com/RGRutiPMiL— Evan Mathis (@EvanMathis69) June 13, 2014
Mathis tweeted the above picture last night, and then spent the rest of the evening retweeting people outraged at him. What lesson was he teaching? A lack of appreciation for money?
This morning, though, Mathis revealed that the "receipt" was fake. He printed it himself on a folded piece of paper, and he was eating by himself at home.
Last night was fun. Thanks for the great reactions. pic.twitter.com/WMNSXjM8WH— Evan Mathis (@EvanMathis69) June 13, 2014
It's a gotcha, but one that doesn't reflect all that well on Mathis. Earlier this week, Eagles rookie lineman Lane Johnson tweeted about a rookie dinner with a tab for $17,747, mostly spent on steaks and drinks for teammates. That costly bill was criticized because of the sense that Johnson was forced into paying, a charge he and teammates denied. "The bottom line is, it was a team function," center Jason Kelce told NJ.com. "Nobody forced Lane to do that."