Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is the NFL truly the "No Fun League?"

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-tofined&prov=ap&type=lgns

Terrell Owens had a post-TD celebration that was funny, well-timed, and unobtrusive. He was fined $7,500. I'm so sick of the bullshit that the NFL throws down about this, and what's even more appalling to me is all the commentators (especially the ESPN NFL Countdown crew) who say, "Stop show-boating, just give the ball to the ref and get back to your sideline."

What is so wrong about allowing these players to be individuals? Can you imagine if, the first time Sammy Sosa did his signature hop after slamming a ball, he had gotten fined and told not to do it again? Whether you find it contrived or endearing or somewhere in between, it's certainly part of who Sosa is, and has surely helped Sosa to make money in endorsements. Why is the NFL so opposed to their players trying to express themselves in some way?

Chad Johnson apparently had multiple conversations with league officials about his planned celebrations to ensure that he wouldn't be risking a penalty or fine. That's kind of a bummer to me. I'd like to see some celebrations that weren't necessarily "approved," especially if it means more celebrations like Owens' from this past Sunday.

The level to which the NFL apparently dislikes its players disgusts me. I'd gladly stomach things like Joe Horn's cell phone gimmick and T.O.'s Sharpie incident to ensure that the people who I tune in to watch are allowed to be themselves when they celebrate. That's the basic idea behind free speech, which seems like a pretty good idea. Give it a whirl, NFL owners.

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