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NFL players have been known to live large and splash out some serious cash on food and drink, especially thanks to a questionable hazing tradition wherein veteran players stick team newbies with whopping dinner tabs.
For example, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant recently told Fox Sports he was forced to fork over $55,000 for dinner with teammates at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Texas during his rookie year. Despite the fact that Dez, a first-round pick in 2010, had signed a five-year deal worth $11.8 million, the pressure to pay for his fellow players’ excesses rubbed him the wrong way.
Earlier this month, Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson, who was a first-round draft pick in 2013, tweeted a dinner bill from Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in Philadelphia with the caption “Rookie dinner.” The total damage indicated on that check was a modest-only-by-comparison $17,747 — much of it apparently on Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac ($4,525) and more than a few extremely pricey bottles of Cabernet (one bottle of 2005 Screaming Eagle Cabernet cost $3,495 alone), as well as steaks, seafood and sides. (The “auto gratuity” was calculated at $472.20 — but perhaps the players left some extra cash?)
After Lane’s tweet went viral, he reportedly followed up with another insisting he was totally cool with the bill: “For those of you so concerned with my business, I am grateful to be able to treat my O-line to such a great evening voluntarily!” he wrote. He later said some of his teammates had kicked in some cash.
But Lane’s teammate Evan Mathis, an offensive guard, wasn’t ready to let the controversy rest. He tweeted an image of what looked like another bill from the same restaurant — this one for food and drinks totaling $64,055 — and captioned it “Teaching rookies a lesson … ” (The tip indicated on that one: $1,704.28.)
The commenters went nuts. “If the lesson is fiscal responsibility, this is an awful lesson,” sniffed one tweep.
“I make a decent living and yet that is 10k more than I make in a year! What a waste!” howled another.
“That $$ could feed hundreds of people,” scolded a third.
Some tweeps were distracted by the details: Who, several wondered, ordered the $4 ice tea?
A handful of suspicious sorts posited that Evan was pulling our legs — and that was the case. The next day the player tweeted a second photo indicating that the receipt had been a fake. “Last night was fun. Thanks for the great reactions,” he wrote.
The clues had been there all along: The first letters of the items listed on the receipt were an acrostic, spelling out “Rock Paper Scissors Roshambo,” PhillyMag.com notes.
So it wasn’t the rookies who’d been taught a lesson, but rather the rest of us: Don’t believe everything you see on social media. And if someone you’re out to dinner with orders a $3,495 bottle of wine, don’t stick around to watch him drink it and call for the check. Run!