The National Football League was sometimes criticized for being the “No Fun League” when it enforced rules that tended to discourage sack dances and end zone prances by its players. Recent relaxation of the NFL’s rules of decorum has brought a return of ridiculous behaviors.
Not only are the behaviors immature, they are usually inappropriate for circumstances. A defensive lineman whose team is trailing by three touchdowns celebrates a rare tackle for a loss by marching around and pounding his chest. A running back whose team is behind by four touchdowns draws attention to a first down by strutting and pointing toward the goal line. A player who scores a touchdown celebrates like he’s never reached the end zone before.
Such behavior is penalized at lower levels. Why is it that the oldest players are allowed to act most childishly?
Attending our high school football games – watching players hand the ball to the official rather than spike it to the ground and dance all around after scoring – has been refreshing. Watching players return to their team huddles without drawing attention to themselves has been reassuring.
Our games are teaching respect and civility and team spirit at a time when America is in desperate need of those values.