We’re getting some e-mail about this story, which means that there’s a conversation to be had about it — but what exactly is that conversation? Referees are inconsistent in calling penalties? People have grown tired of end-zone celebrations? Location, location, location? CNN covers the firestorm, or at least candleflame, that erupted after a yellow hankie got thrown at the end of a touchdown run in Washington:
And they call the NFL the No Fun League! If that’s an excessive celebration, how did Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco ever get out of high school? As Kiran Chetry points out, the entire demonstration lasted perhaps two seconds and didn’t involve the usual gyrations and pantomime seen at the college or professional level. In fact, that point to the sky gesture has become so routine that in any other game it would hardly be noticed.
Rules are rules, though, and the point in tying the rule to the ball seems intended to limit the more ludicrous celebrations seen in other venues. The player takes the lesson that one can thank the Lord from the sidelines (or at least without the ball) with good grace. The penalty doesn’t appear to be a punishment for religious speech, and neither the league nor the school has given any indication that they’re hostile to sharing the glory with God on a football field. The real message is that location matters. Still, I’d rather see this any day than the whooping and stomping that follows routine tackles and gains in the NFL.