Some of the NFL celebrations and NFL player comments are absurd. From Joe Horn’s cell phone celebration to the ridiculous number of NFL player twitter posts, there are ridiculous demonstrations by NFL players weekly. Somehow, almost all of these clowns are wide receivers. These wide receiver divas in the NFL are obnoxious. They take away from the game. Their comics are meant for the stage not the gridiron…Oh wait. I love them.
Over the last couple of weeks, there have been many reactions to the touchdown celebration of Buffalo Bill Stevie Johnson. For those of you who did not see his celebration, Johnson mocked New York Jets receiver Plaxico Burress (Michigan State) by pretending to shoot himself in the leg after scoring a touchdown. Burress spent 2 years in prison after shooting himself in the leg with an unregistered gun while at a nightclub in New York. Not only did Johnson pretend to shoot himself in the leg while celebrating, but he also imitated the signature New York Jet flying celebration before crashing to the ground. His antics resulted in a 15 yard penalty for excessive celebration. The field position due in part to the penalty helped lead to a New York Jets touchdown.
Many columnists and talking heads have been calling for a fine, suspension, or even the dismissal of Stevie Johnson from his team. He was just recently fined $10,000 for the celebration by the NFL and people continue to complain about his actions. Many believe that this fine was not enough of a punishment. Several players have stated that Johnson offended the city of New York with his actions, claiming that he was replicating or at least being very insensitive to the events of 9/11. After reading all of the angry responses, I wanted to see what Plaxico Burress himself had to say about the celebration. Overall, he didn’t seem overly upset by it. In fact, he claimed that Johnson called him to apologize and told him that he did not realize people would take his actions to be this offensive.
Reading all of the coverage over an endzone celebration, I became disgusted by the people who want Johnson’s head. Lighten up! He was just trying to have some fun! I personally found the touchdown celebration to be hilarious. Maybe it’s because I am New England Patriots fan, but watching the game, I couldn’t stop laughing as Johnson fell to the turf as a fallen Jet. Yes, his celebration was dumb in terms of helping his team win the game, but in regards to morality, why was it so wrong? Why can’t we joke? No, he wasn’t pretending to crash into the Twin Towers. No, he wasn’t trying to pick a fight with Plaxico. No, he didn’t want to anger the media. He just wanted to give people a laugh like other receivers do. He wanted his share of attention. He wanted to make fun of someone for a really stupid act. Why was it wrong for him to do this? Though I am a diehard New England Patriot’s and Michigan Wolverine fan, I would find a receiver mocking Tom Brady’s scooter ride, shaved armpits, Brazilian dance moves or water slide ride to be extremely funny. Yes, making fun of Plaxico shooting himself is more serious than this, but it shouldn’t be taken as offensive.
Wide receiver’s bring comedy to the game. Chad Ochocinco’s tweets regarding touchdowns and sex are funny, not offensive. Terrell Owen’s “get your popcorn ready” motto made people laugh. These guys are, in fact, entertainment. They are fun. It is true that some receivers wear out their comedian act (yes, you T.O.), but these guys make the game more interesting. You can’t say that you haven’t laughed or smiled at some of the wide receiver antics.
The many fans or media outlets who constantly rag on this new brand of receiver look at them from a very conservative perspective. These receivers are radical. They are new and very different. We can think of them as disruptions to the previously conservative nature of football. They are, in my opinion, welcome disruptions. Football has never before seen this magnitude of media coverage or fanbase before. Yes, in watching the NFL of old, seeing players such as Barry Sanders hand the ball off to the referee immediately after scoring a touchdown comes across as very respectful. However, there was no personality in these actions. Similarly, we are bored by players today such as Jay Cutler or coaches such a Bill Belichick who seem to be robots on the football field. Isn’t it fun to see some guys step out of this role?
Conservatives believe that radical change from the past is problematic and that tradition is valuable. I take what the critics of diva receivers say to be conservative thought. I agree that tradition is valuable, but can we also embrace some change? This is a new age of football and these guys are making changes to the game. In their own way, they are giving back to the game. According to Rawls’s liberty principle, these receivers may act as they wish as long as it doesn’t violate someone else’s rights. Are they, in fact violating other peoples’ rights with their antics? I don’t believe so. In my opinion, the collective goal of these diva wide receivers is to have fun and increase peoples’ joy in football. They strive to entertain their fans. Based on Rawl’s argument of equality and liberty, it is irrational and wrong to prevent wide receivers from pursuing this goal of theirs. So, why do people insist on preventing them from having fun? Let the kids play.