NFL: The ‘No Fun League’

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 2, 2016

“Act like you’ve been there before and you’ll soon be there again.”

We hear this all the time in sports from fans and coaches alike when a player dances and jumps for joy after scoring a touchdown. I understand that we all must be “professional,” but I don’t understand the reasoning behind banning touchdown celebrations in football.

A decade ago, football fans would watch some of their favorite players score touchdowns followed by entertaining celebrations that were not usually directed toward others.

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Now-a-days, high school and college athletes can’t even think about celebrating without being penalized. In my opinion, if a celebration is not negatively directed toward anyone, it should be allowed.

A prime example is Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Last season, each time Newton reached the end zone, he danced, sometimes for an excessive amount of time, but it was harmless. In one instance, Newton innocently celebrated after scoring a rushing touchdown against the Tennessee Titans. During his celebration, Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard purposely bumped into Newton to stop him from dancing. Consequently, Newton turned his focus on Woodyard, now taunting his opponent.

This exchange soon went viral on social media, with countless tweets calling Newton a “savage.” This is the perfect representation of the line being crossed. Before Woodyard stepped in, the referees tolerated Newton’s celebration, but once it was directed toward another individual, he deserved a penalty even though it was not issued.

In high school, I see players celebrate all the time, but rarely has it been to provoke an opposing player.

The NFL’s arguments are valid against celebrations. Yes, the players are supposed to be role models and encourage sportsmanship in younger generations, but as long as it is not derogatory, I don’t see why it’s not allowed. Allowing players to celebrate would drive up viewership for all levels of football. There are much larger issues in the game to be worried about, like drug use and domestic violence.