SBD/September 11, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Shake It Off: Players Take Advantage Of New Relaxed NFL Celebration Rules

Panthers QB Cam Newton celebrates a Week 1 touchdown against the 49ers
Several players during Week 1 took advantage of the NFL's relaxed celebration rules and made fans "forget for a few seconds how absolutely despicable the NFL can be," according to Tim Marcin of NEWSWEEK. Lions WR Marvin Jones "hopped some faux double-dutch through a phantom jump rope" in the end zone after scoring against the Cardinals. The move was "child-like and pure and joyful, things that often go missing in a league so utterly focused on doing-your-job, nothing more, nothing less." Meanwhile, Browns QB DeShone Kizer after scoring a 1st-quarter touchdown against the Steelers "dusted off a move he made famous in college: a leaping heel-click" (NEWSWEEK.com, 9/11). In N.Y., Bill Pennington noted while certain conduct, like "taunting, sexually suggestive gestures and overly long demonstrations, remain prohibited," players are otherwise unrestricted. Ravens TE Benjamin Watson said, "It’s such a relief that we can now show whatever passion we have at pivotal moments." Giants President & CEO John Mara, who is also a longtime member of the NFL committee that oversees game rules, said the old celebration rules "did get tangled." Mara: "It got confusing and cumbersome, and we had to come up with something more reasonable" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/8). ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said, “You can emulate a basketball shot. ... You still can’t dunk like Jimmy Graham did in 2013, because you can mess up the goal post and cause a big delay. You can celebrate on the ground with your teammates, choreograph it a little bit. But if it’s prolonged, you can draw a delay of game penalty.” ESPN’s Adam Schefter: “There are limits. No goal posts, no Salvation Army kettle bells like Ezekiel Elliott last year. No twerking. It’s up to the officials to gauge the offensiveness of what works and what doesn’t work” (“Sunday NFL Countdown,” ESPN, 9/10).
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