#432. Celebration-less Touchdowns

Black people just being Black

Professional athlete, as we have learned, is the vocation of choice for young Black males. The majority of Black males grow up believing they will one day make it to either the NBA or the NFL and that though the taste of riches may be fleeting, “making it rain” for a few years will be worth every penny lost that would have gained compound interest sitting in a bank.
Black athletes compete not only for playing time as professional athletes, but also for endorsements dollars against fellow athletes. This means that the optimum place to showcase their skills will be on ESPN Sports Center, a daily telecast highlighting the top plays from the prior day’s sporting events.

One-handed catches on the gridiron, monster “poster material” dunks on the basketball court and long runs through a maze of defenders only to eventually penetrate the end zone are what the producers at ESPN continuously highlight and the viewer craves watching.

But one of the more intriguing highlights ESPN promulgates is the end zone dance, the spontaneous celebration of Black individuality and creativity after a player has scored a touchdown (though the practice of Black braggadocio is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, seen after minor pass breakups by corners and even five-yard receptions by Twitter happy receivers).

The end zone celebration was a ritualistic dance notoriously performed in the 1980s with impressive flair and increased levels of team participation coupled with intensely choreographed maneuvers. The NCAA quickly moved in to limit these celebrations and subjugate offenders of flagrant celebration with the dreaded “Miami Rule”: 

College football players planning to punctuate scoring plays by high-stepping into the end zone, somersaulting over the goal line or waving the ball at their beaten opponents better get it out of their system this season.

Nearly two decades after the creation of the so-called “Miami Rule,” the NCAA is taking another step to reduce taunting, a harsher penalty for the guilty party that could take points off the scoreboard starting in the 2011 season.


It all goes back to Miami’s 1991 Cotton Bowl rout of Texas, when the Hurricanes committed a school-record 16 penalties, including nine for unsportsmanlike conduct.


That performance resulted in the institution of a 15-yard penalty for any player engaging in prolonged celebrations or taunting.


Fast-forward to April, when the NCAA approved a rule that wipes out a touchdown if a player taunts his opponents en route to the end zone. Instead of getting six points, the team would be assessed a 15-yard penalty from the spot of the foul.


The harsher rules don’t sit well with former Hurricanes receiver Randal Hill, who despite a standout career probably is best known for his touchdown celebration in that ’91 Cotton Bowl. After scoring a touchdown, Hill ran into a stadium tunnel, then emerged while pretending to fire a pair of six-shooters.


Hill admits that some of the things he and his teammates did “were over the top” but derides the NCAA as “stuffy guys” searching for ways to take the fun out out of the game.


“I think it’s sad,” said Hill, who works as a special agent for U.S. Homeland Security. “All these guys that are making the rules? Get rid of every single one of them and put people in there that understand more about the game.


“I guarantee you, the fans don’t want to see a snooty, boring game.”

Excessive celebration is banned in college sports, but the professionals (especially the NFL) have the market cornered on gaudy end zone dances, mugging for the camera after big hits on defense and the primeval yell that ejaculates from the throat of the athlete upon securing a big catch or extended a drive with a long run.

Black players make up 70 percent of the NFL athletes and 80 percent of the NBA players. If a study were undertaken to determine which race garners the most unsportsmanlike/excessive celebration penalties in the NFL and technical fouls in the NBA, SBPDL believes these would be 90-95 committed by Black players.

It is rare to see excessive celebration called in the NFL, but in a recent playoff game a critical mistake was made by the New York Jets that resulted in a 15-yard penalty. That mistake? A Black person scored a touchdown and that player decided to grandstand for the crowd and the viewing audience at home:

When you talk big, you’d better back it up. And if you back up the big talk, you deserve to celebrate even bigger. That wasn’t a problem for the New York Jets during and after the team’s decisive 28-21 victory over the New England Patriots in the AFC divisional playoff.

A bit of the celebration didn’t please CBS announcer Jim Nantz, though. After Shonn Greene(notes) scored a late game-sealing touchdown, many Jets, Rex Ryan included, converged in the end zone to whoop it up and send one final message to the Patriots and their fans. Nantz didn’t like this, particularly Greene’s “nap time” celebration, which saw the running back fall to the ground and mimic that he was going to sleep.

“I’ve never understood the absurdity of all the self-aggrandizing and now you’re going to cost your team 15 yards on the kick and you’re going to give Brady and his unit a chance to do something.”

All right, Jim. Come on down from that soapbox and let’s talk about this. You’re right that it’s absurd for a player to cost his team 15 yards for an incident that was completely unnecessary. And you’re right that Brady and his team were going to get another chance to do something. But did you have to go with “absurdity” and “self-aggrandizing” when ripping Greene’s celebration? You know who’s self-aggrandizing? People who use the phrase “self-aggrandizing.” I assume you’ve been introduced to the pot and the kettle, Jim?

The real culprit here is the NFL for having lame rules in place that penalize players for having fun. Greene didn’t get flagged for doing something wrong — like taunting or disrespectful behavior —  no, he was penalized because he intentionally fell to the ground in the course of celebrating a touchdown. That’s all.

End zone celebrations are an unwritten, de facto right for Black players to display effortless cool (though none have pulled off a Clarence  yet) and an opportunity to gesticulate and contort their bodies in ways that display the sportsmanship that sports fans have come to know and expect from Black athletes.

Black people really, really love being Black. No Self esteem issues here

Though the game may be in doubt, Black athletes on a team losing by 30 might taunt the opposing team with an exaggerated, multifaceted celebration that oozes with Black machismo.

You see, Black people have no shame and are normally completely unaware of their surroundings. Being quiet at a movie? Impossible for Black people, though before every movie people are implored to refrain from speaking during the viewing of the film.

Using 6-inch voices like our teachers told us was polite to utilize in public places? Nope, Black people believe in the 40 foot voice rule, demanding that everyone within ear shot be party to their conversation.

This is why football players (and to a less extent basketball players) must celebrate every play that just might conceivably — possibly, maybe — merit even the smallest accolade. It’s only natural for Black people to be the center of attention and with tens of millions watching and television, the opportunity for endorsement dollars and precious ESPN highlight reel time translates to excessive dancing upon scoring a touchdown. Or making a five-yard catch. Or breaking up a pass. Or sacking a quarterback. Or… pretty much anything that can be counted as a positive play – involving a Black player – will inevitably end in a celebratory manner that screams of a two-year old engage in a temper-tantrum.

Perhaps one of the primary reasons Black athletes enjoy showing-off and demanding attention on the athletic fields is due to a heightened level of self-esteem that removes any of the moral inhibitors that keep white athletes from engaging in similar behavior?

It is a well-known fact that Black people are blessed with the highest rates of self-esteem of any of the racial groups in America (maybe even the world). Why do Black people have the highest self-esteem, when it would seem they should be the least racial group participating in boasting?

That will be discussed tomorrow.

For today, Stuff Black People Don’t Like includes celebration-less touchdowns. Such an action would be best described as “acting white.”

Black people live by the mantra of “keepin it real” and they must always show off an alpha male mentality by bringing attention to themselves upon scoring a touchdown, which sometimes can be an aggressive affair. Mostly, though, the touchdown dance has a P.T Barnum feel to it; watching players like Chad OchoCinco, Ray Lewis, Terrell Owens and virtually every other Black athletes prance around brings to my the infamous phrase, “No homo.”

It is these extracurricular activities upon the pro fields and courts of football and basketball that highlight dramatic differences between the races participating in the games.

And it gives the viewer a glimpse into the high levels of self-esteem that Black people possess, though the glory they feel may only last for a year (though high levels of Black self esteem are documented in non-athletes, even those who drop out from school). Black people showing off by dancing after touchdowns, is eerily reminiscent of animals marking their territory against competing males of the species or when the male of an animal species attempts to impress a mate.

Why do Black people have such high levels of self confidence and self esteem? The answer comes tomorrow and it may shock you. In the mean time, why don’t you take a guess at it?

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About SBPDL

Stuff Black People Don't Like (formerly SBPDL.com) has moved to SBPDL.net!
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