Just when you were starting to realize that the NFL could have been trying to protect fans by fining the Jets’ Shawn Ellis for throwing a snow boulder into the stands in Seattle, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell signs off on this atrocity: The league is fining Patriots wide receiver $10,000 Wes Welker for making a snow angel, according to Christoper Gaper of the BOSTON GLOBE.
(Welker being an NFL deviant, evidently.)
That’s right, despite the fact that Welker’s second-half touchdown celebration A) didn’t involve any teammates, B) only involved props provided by nature, C) lasted for less than five seconds and D) was clearly an improptu reaction, the league is still handing down it’s standard $10G celebration fine. Talk about a crappy Christmas present to one of the league’s hardest-working, most reliable players.
To call the fine humorless is a significant understatement. To call it a cynical holiday present doesn’t do it justice. This, in its most pure, bottom line, is the NFL outlawing any expression of impetuous personal jubilation.
Here’s the NFL’s official reason for fining the New England Pro-Bowl invitee: ‘Per NFL rules, players are not allowed to go to the ground for a touchdown celebration (unless it is a prayer). The official reason Welker was fined, the NFL confirmed today, was for “unsportsmanlike conduct for participation in an illegal demonstration by going to the ground.”‘
Wait a minute, so you’re saying that Welker essentially was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct because he intentionally fell on the ground after a touchdown? Would the same be true of a player who collapsed in the end zone after a long run (maybe an nose tackle returning a fumble?)? And where does the NFL get off saying that it’s ok to drop to the ground in prayer after a touchdown, you just can’t do anything else? Football isn’t agnostic anymore?
The whole scenario is ludicrous, yet it’s almost guaranteed to have the league’s desired effect. Welker is already saying that he won’t make any more snow angels — which is a shame, since he’ll actually get a chance to in Boston — and all other players are sure to see the fine and shy away from copying Welker’s TD magnum opus. Well, maybe Terrell Owens or Chad Javon Ocho Cinco Johnson would try it despite a fine, but no else is crazy enough to.
“It was a spur of the moment deal, and you can be sure that it won’t happen again,” Welker said.
Just to relive the glory that was Welker’s sporadic snow angel, here’s the video glory of the celebration. Enjoy it now, because you won’t be seeing it again.