The NFL announced Tuesday that it will relax the penalties for touchdown celebrations in the upcoming season. Though the changes are a win for fans, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis lamented that the NFL is allowing players to set a bad example for children.
On Wednesday's episode of "Undisputed," Shannon Sharpe explained why Marvin Lewis is "sadly mistaken."
Marvin Lewis: Celebrations by individuals set a bad example for kids
“We had a good standard, and the whole standard’s always been, ‘You want to teach people how to play the game the correct way and go about it the correct way.’
"That’s not a very good example for young people. This is a team game, and why we want to give in … I don’t understand [why] we want to give in to individual celebrations.”
Aaron DosterAaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Lewis is absolutely wrong
“Marvin Lewis is absolutely wrong. Skip, I love Marvin, you know I know Marvin. Was with him for two years in Baltimore when he was the defensive coordinator, and I can make the case that’s the greatest defense ever assembled for one year.
"But Skip, he’s wrong with this. If the worst thing we say about a player, or parents say about a player, is that ‘I don’t like that celebration,’ I think the players have done a great job.”
David KohlDavid Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
How can Marvin Lewis be concerned with setting a good example given his roster?
“But how can Marvin say this when he has Pacman Jones, Vontaze Burfict, and they just signed Joe Mixon?
"Now, all these guys deserve a second chance. I have no problem with that. I gave Marvin a lot of props for stepping out when it was very unpopular and signing these guys.
"But you say you want to teach the youth examples? And you have those three guys on your roster? And you’re concerned about celebrations?”
Kirby LeeKirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Scoring a touchdown is the ultimate achievement in a game, and players deserve to celebrate
“Everybody says, ‘Football is the ultimate team game.’ The greatest accomplishment you can have on the field is getting the ball into the end zone. You’ve worked all week to try to find away to run it or throw it or intercept it or recover it … somehow, you want the ball in the end zone.
"When you get to the end zone, in your crowning moment, you have to be an individual. You can’t share that moment with your teammate. I laugh at people who are like, ‘Do like Barry Sanders, act like you’ve been there.’
"… Turn on Instagram. People taking pictures of their food, their workout -- act like you’ve worked out before! Act like you’ve eaten before!”
Kirby LeeKirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Celebrations aren't going to ruin the game
“I love Marvin, but Marvin is wrong in this instance. You can’t say celebration is setting a bad example because of an individual because you’re standing out, you’re drawing attention to yourself, when you’ve got three guys on your roster … do you know what they’ve done, Marvin?
"If you think celebration will set a worse example than the three guys you have on your roster, Marvin, you’re sadly mistaken. You’re sadly, sadly mistaken.“
Troy TaorminaTroy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
This was a smart move by the NFL
“But the NFL was right in this. You know why? Because they saw the ratings. Now they see the ratings had something to do with the presidential election, but it also said the fans said, ‘They won’t let the players do what they need to do to entertain us.’
"This is what we know about the NFL. They don’t give discounts, and they don’t do rebates. If they want these sponsors and endorsers to keep writing these big, big, big checks, those fans and eyeballs need to be watching, and their butts [need to be] in the stadium.”
Geoff BurkeGeoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
The NFL shouldn't open Pandora's cox
“I hear what you’re saying about Marvin’s roster … and there is some hypocrisy here. Even though what you’re saying about Marvin and his roster is not wrong, I do think in this case it’s off-point, because in this case you’re killing a messenger whose point I agree with.
"… I’m with Marvin on what he said about setting a bad example for the kids. I care about, and I think you’ve gone with me before on this point, I don’t want Pandora’s box completely thrown back open. Because, clearly, they have widened the boundaries. And in this day and social media age we know live in, I believe players will begin to push those limits farther and farther and farther.”
USA TODAY NETWORKJim Matthews-USA TODAY Sports
Will the NFL actually enforce its new rules?
“Obviously they’ve said no sexually suggestive antics, and [no] mimicking of any weaponry, and they also said nothing prolonged. But now teammates can also join in, and also, [the] football [can be used] as a prop.
"…. I don’t mind a little bit of that, but I do mind ‘prolonged.’ And they’re saying ‘we’re going to start the 40-second clock, the play clock, as soon as the touchdown is scored.’ I will believe that when I see it.
"It’s really going to start to push the limits of the celebration. Are you really going to call time on it to the point that you’re going to say it’s a 5-yard delay of game penalty on the extra-point kick?
"Are you going to hold the players to no prolonged celebrations? Because I will believe it when I see it.”