Now, I adore good manners. “Don’t let your mood dictate your manners,” is lovely advice and makes the world a better place.
Good manners and crazy football!
I’m trying to write about the beauty of manners, yet yesterday’s Packers vs. Seahawks game is still front and center in my thoughts. An unbelievable game.
Down to the wire, Wilson redeemed himself and owes Lynch! A great game throughout with amazing plays; underdogs beating the odds-makers, then collapse (what happened?) and a lightning-quick comeback, redemption and domination kept the spectators on the edge of their seats and continue to capture the sports headlines.
Lynch fined again for…what?
Marshawn Lynch, in addition to his fantastic showing, is receiving press coverage for his most recent fine. For what, you may ask. Crotch-grabbing, of course. I laughed when I heard this news. There’s a fine for that? Lynch seems to not care. Maybe he can’t stop himself? Is it his signature move? Either way, he was instrumental in securing the Seahawks’ position at the Super Bowl.
Timothy Burke’s article, “You Can’t Stop Beast Mode, Or The Crotch Grab” includes photographic and video evidence of Lynch’s conduct in question.
New NFL Rules & Strict Enforcement
In recent seasons, the NFL has changed rules and enforced player fines and suspensions in an attempt to reduce violence in the games. In a sport where players can sustain injury that stays with them well beyond retirement, this seems like a responsible move.
In the last decade, the NFL has been referred to as the “No Fun League” as it continues to penalize players for unsportsmanlike conduct. Does this include military-style salutes? Backflips? Pee Wee Herman or Hula dancing? Let’s check the Rules.
Definitions & Penalties
The NFL Rules Digest defines Unsportsmanlike Conduct as: “Any act contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship.”
The List of Penalties further defines Unsportsmanlike Conduct as: “Any person (usually a player but occasionally a coach and very rarely one or more spectators) who acts or speaks in a manner deemed to be intentionally harmful or especially objectionable by the game officials, or by rule.” [emphasis added]
The game officials have discretion when deeming conduct Unsportsmanlike. For example, in one instance a hula dance is acceptable while Lynch’s crotch-grab is not. Depending on who is judging, both (or neither) could be considered objectionable.
Further, since 2004, the definition of “taunting” has been expanded to include any “prolonged and premeditated celebrations” by players. It’s a leap of logic to define a celebration among teammates as a taunt against the other team.
Additionally, how much time determines the threshold of “prolonged”? What constitutes “premeditated”? This level of subjective interpretation results in inconsistencies and is cause for controversy.
Under these rules and definitions, shouldn’t cheerleading be abolished? A cheerleading squad’s cheers and routines are not only a celebration, but are also rehearsed, prolonged and premeditated.
Players’ Expressions & Context
According to societal norms and standards, Lynch’s gesture would be inappropriate in a dining room or department store. But, on a football field?
I love good manners as much (or more!) as the next person. But, in pro football how much do we want to curtail the players’ expression? The whooping, hollering, touchdown-dancing*? The primal glee?
Wild Horses & the Warrior Spirit
While the saying, “Don’t let your mood dictate your manners,” makes the world a better place, the NFL’s mandating manners not only dictates the mood of the players, the arena and the viewers, it also squashes the very spirit that embodies football stars.
Isn’t this spirit part of the appeal of pro sports? It’s the strongest, toughest, smartest, fastest of us — the best that’s in us. It’s one player against himself; in unison with his team facing down the other team. The enemy. On the battlefield. By definition, it’s outside our everyday society.
Taming the players’ instincts and expressions would be to put the spurs and reins on wild horses. The warrior spirit is what separates football from chess — and fills the stadiums.
(*Speaking of dancing, Eddie Lacy’s got the moves!)
NFC Championship Game: Packers vs. Seahawks, January 18, 2015. Final (OT): Green Bay 22-28 Seattle.
UPDATE: Marshawn Lynch has been fined $20,000 for this infraction, increased from the previous $11,500.
UPDATE: Marshawn Lynch has been warned by the NFL that another crotch-grab will cost 15 yards.
For further information on Marshawn Lynch’s conduct in question, see article: “You Can’t Stop Beast Mode, Or The Crotch Grab,” by Timothy Burke. Published: January 18, 2015.
For further discussion on this matter, see article: “The NFL Should Just Leave Marshawn Lynch The Hell Alone,” by Tom Ley. Published: January 21, 2015.
For discussion of the NFL’s pre-Super Bowl warning to Marshawn Lynch, see article: “Marshawn Lynch under league scrutiny at Super Bowl,” by Bob Condotta, Seattle Times staff reporter. Published: January 24, 2015.
Video posted to youtube by user Best of 2014