The TSL Give and Go: Touchdown Celebrations

KHALID: The NY Times article from earlier this week that seeks to identify racial disparity in how TD celebrations are interpreted is, how can I say, puzzling. The story cited a Northwestern University report stating how certain celebrations are deemed fine-worthy and some aren’t. Most of the ones that are, are orchestrated by black players, and often result in the overblown unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (those 15 yards rarely hurt unless it’s in the 4th quarter, so I always shoulder shrug when I hear announcers pontificating).

I feel like it's a numbers game. With so many black guys playing WR, RB and CB; they are bound to score more and, thus, get fined more often. This conversation led to another discussion about whether or not TD celebrations are played out. I say no. I’ve always liked them. As far back as the “Ickey Shuffle” and through backflips, the grenade drop that was popular in the early ‘00s, guys doing push-ups, Stevie Johnson’s “Why So Serious” t-shirt and Victor Cruz's salsa. These celebratory moments add levity to the game. It’s good ol’ fashioned entertainment.  We need more of it, not less. NFL, don’t kill my vibe! Vince, tell me you're on my side, bruh.



VINCE: More like the "Wicky-Wicky-Wack Shuffle." Unfortunately, Kha, I can't rock with you on this one. TD celebrations are played, fam. I haven't been entertained by any of them in, at least, a couple of seasons — except Gronk's "Magic Mike" jump-off. And that's really just because I get a kick out of Gronk. 

But, word, these days, we have high school kids getting kicked out of games because blow-hard officials are "cracking down" on unsportsmanlike conduct and perceived taunting. The kid Jalan McLendon, from Charlotte, was just imitating Cam Newton's Superman pose (a very understated TD celebration, if you ask me) and the refs told dude to kick rocks. At that point, it's like, "You know what? Is it really worth it?"

Don't get it twisted: I come from a generation, a culture, a community and a family that digs a good celebration. If I catch a new flavor of Haagen Dazs at the bodega, I might do the cabbage patch. That's how I'm on it. I also the love/loved Deion's high-step, Gen-X hoopers' primal screams after dunks and slow trots around the bases after home runs. But, when T.O. and Ocho started orchestrating what they'd do after TDs, the celebrations got wack quick-fast and in a hurry.

As far as I'm concerned, Emmitt Smith had the last truly dope TD celebration:


KHALID: These high schools refs need to stop trying to legislate the emotional reactions of 17 years old. Man, if I was the parent of the kid that got tossed, me and that ref might have to go and have a "sit-down" somewhere. You're not just going to arbitrarily kick my son outta the game because of that. Kids are gonna be kids, and for that matter, players are gonna be players. It's not as if people are throwing up middle fingers or anything truly heinous. TD celebrations are fun. Are fans complaining about this? Why such a pushback? 

The whole "No Fun League" thing seems real during times like this. Just because T.O and Chad Johnson messed it up, doesn't mean the rest of us should have to suffer. Those guys aren't even in the League, anymore. So, what, everytime a dude scores, he's just gonna politely hand the ball to the ref and run back to his sideline? I ain't with all this quaint nonsense.  Let a dog bark. 


VINCE:: The rest of us "suffer"? I don't think any of us are suffering through football games without TD celebrations. Let me be clear: I don't want a "no celebration" rule. I'm all for reactions of unbridled joy and, as I stated before, black people like to bust moves when they're happy. It's what we do. But I'm tired of the cornball orchestration I see in NFL end zones, these days. Here's my solution: instead of throwing flags for the excessiveness of the celebration or the perceived disrespect of a taunt, let's start flagging the corniness of the celebration. The next clown with the gall to hit us with a Gangnam Style celebration should get a one-year suspension. I mean, seriously — Gangnam Style? People askin' questions.



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