In an attempt to educate players on the finer points of acceptable touchdown celebrations and cut down on the rising number of celebration penalties, the NFL is "developing an educational training video for players to show clear examples of appropriate and inappropriate celebrations," according to Troy Vincent.
Super Bowl LI champion Martellus Bennett isn't a fan of the NFL's plan, and he ripped the league in a series of tweets. On Thursday's episode of Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless debated whether the NFL is handling touchdown celebrations the right way.
“A lot of celebrations have to do with the individual’s personality. That’s who they are. And now you want to show ‘guys, this is the way you celebrate.’ It’s very patronizing, because you’re telling a grown man ‘this is how you should act,’ when they should know how to act.
Look Skip, as long as you don’t make any reference to guns, you do the six-shooters or you do the throat slash or anything suggestive, I’m all for it. And don’t use props. But if guys want to… Michael Jackson, doing the Thriller, what Odell Beckham was doing. Guys getting excited, Cam doing the Superman. I don’t have any problem with that.
You say it’s the ‘ultimate team game,’ but if more than three or four people get in a celebratory position at once you throw a flag on them. So how are you saying it’s the ultimate team game, ‘we want to showcase teams,’ but when you try and celebrate as a team you throw the flag?”
Geoff BurkeGeoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Shannon Sharpe: This is a waste of time for the NFL
“Let’s be realistic. They’re upset the ratings dipped a little bit - be it because of the election, be it because of Kaepernick’s protest. Whatever the reasons, the NFL doesn’t want to do anything to mess up this cash cow.
The fans are saying NFL stands for ‘No Fun League,’ the players have said it’s the ‘No Fun League’ … let’s see what we can do. Also, commissioner [Roger] Goodell is saying ‘we’re going to cut out some of these commercial breaks, we’re going to let you see more of the game, we’re going to have it more free-flowing. So we’re not going to interrupt every time [there’s] a dead ball, we go to a commercial. We’re going to stay on the field.’
They’re doing everything they possibly can to keep that money flowing in. But Skip, these are grown men. They know how they should celebrate. They know what is allowed. This is just wasting time and another attempt for them to say ‘see, we really care what you guys think,’ when in actuality they really don’t.”
Skip Bayless: Martellus Bennett is speaking out to help his brand
“I’m not with you on this one, and I usually am on these kinds of NFL issues.
What did you remind me of before the show today, that Martellus, over the last few days, he’s been posting selfies? And the intent is to remind people what he looks like under his helmet? Is that not trying to build your brand as an individual?
This is why he didn’t last with the New England Patriots. This is why I think they felt like they got away with co-existing with his personality for one Super Bowl winning season and said ‘thank you very much, God bless.’
This is really about Martellus Bennett, who is in new ‘look at me’ mode. Literally ‘look at my face,’ day after day. To me, these tweets came across as ‘look at me’ tweets. Because obviously the NFL has far more important and significant off-field issues that need to be addressed and are being addressed as best the NFL is capable of dealing with them.”
Shannon Sharpe: “Did they do any PSA videos about domestic violence, or weed, or alcohol?”
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Skip Bayless: If the players say they’re confused about the rules, this should help
“As an on-the-field growing issue, players are continually confused. That’s all I heard last year. ‘I’m confused, I don’t know what I can and can’t do when I score a touchdown… they always voiced after the game, ‘wait a second, he got to jump in the Salvation Army bucket, but I can’t…”
It confused me at times because it seemed a little hypocritical occasionally. It seemed like a double-standard.
… I don’t have any big issue with this the way Martellus did, and again, I think he is on a nightly campaign via social media to expand his brand. Now that he got his ring and he got his money, what is left? His brand. He could not expand his brand under the umbrella that is the New England Patriots’ umbrella.”
Shannon Sharpe: As long as a celebration is not sexual or violent in nature, there shouldn't be a problem
“Skip, these are grown men. They know that anything sexual in nature will not be tolerated… If I want to see twerking, I’m going to pay a cover, and I’m going to go see twerking. When I go to a football game, I want to see guys get their caps peeled. I want to see touchdowns scored.
Now if you want to celebrate, you want to come up with something creative, you want to do the Michael Jackson… whatever you want to do, as long as it’s not sexual in nature, as long as it’s not violent.”
Shannon Sharpe: Players should put their personality on display, but they need to be respectful
“These guys know what’s acceptable. This is how it works in all walks of society. There’s a line, and you know where that line is. Now some people will go to the line and they’ll look over it, but they won’t step over it. Some people will put a foot over the line like ‘OK, ain’t nobody coming, let me see if I can put both feet over the line.’ Because the celebration really matches the personality.
You look at Larry Fitzgerald, he scores a touchdown - he’s got over 100 of them -throws the ball to the official. Barry Sanders just threw the ball to the official. Got no problem with that.
I don’t want 1,500 of those guys, because I want to see your personality. I want to see who you are…. I want guys’ personality to show, just be respectful. Think about it, there are kids at home.”