I remember a time when the NFL used to be a fun league to watch. Defenders hit harder, and offensive players celebrated with elaborate end-zone celebrations.
That is the NFL I remember falling in love with growing up. What happened to that NFL? Why is the league that was such a joy to watch now devolved into a serious league? The league got a little grimmer on Friday, when the league’s front office handed New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham a $30,000 fine for his goal-post dunk celebration in their preseason game against the Tennessee Titans last Friday night:
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) August 23, 2014
Let’s look at this for a second here. Graham is now $30,000 lighter for dunking a football. How harmful is dunking a football? Graham’s goal-post dunk is not degrading the NFL. Players were dunking the football for years before Rodger Goodell came in and cracked down on everything that is fun and pure about football.
Here is something else that bothers me about this “fine.” Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns flicked off the Washington Redskins sideline and got hit with only a $12,000 fine. Manziel’s action against the Redskins was more of an egregious act against the NFL’s image than Graham’s goal-post dunk, but yet in still, Graham was walloped by the league and Manziel got off with a slap on the wrist.
Graham’s fine by the league was complete overkill, and Goodell should really think about what constitutes unsportsmanlike conduct. Because what the league did to Graham and the rest of the players who have been fined for performing “elaborate” end-zone celebrations, is definitely unsportsmanlike conduct.