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Monday, September 15, 2008

NFL Unsportsmanlike Conduct Rule Aimed at Black Players

By Environment Man

The NFL rules against celebrating are aimed to prevent and reduce self expression by the African American football players (some whites too). 'Hot dogging' is part of the African American culture. Does it go overboard? Yes? Is it entertaining. Hell yes. So why is the NFL reducing entertainment content in a sport designed to entertain on television and in 80,000-seat stadiums? It is because NFL ownership is not familiar with the black community or black culture. Or they are familiar with it and reject it as being somehow vulgar. But shouldn't a player be allowed to express himself almost any way he wants when he scores a touchdown? Of course he should.

I am going to invoke the 1st Amendment protection for freedom of speech here but I know the NFL owners will bark that they are a private club. Yes but you also have a government monopoly exemption that puts you under federal government guidelines. Plus you are a public accomodation under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If I had some money I would sue. Why does the NFL Players Association let this slide? Probably no blacks in leadership (or who will exercise leadership).

I was moved to write this when New Orleans Saints player Reggie Bush scored against the Washington Native Americans and was penalized 15 yards for pointing his finger at a Washington defender before he entered the endzone. Not only that but then one of the commentators said the player had to "control your emotions a little bit." Huh? In a sport where grown men run full speed into each other? Duh. The Saints went on to lose the game.

The unsportsmanlike conduct rules are listed below:

* Individual players are prohibited from using foreign objects or the football while celebrating. They are also prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground. A celebration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate after a warning from an official. Previously, players were not prohibited from using props or celebrating on the ground. Reason for the change: Promotes sportsmanship. [New NFL Rules for 2006]
* Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Any act contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship. [NFL Digest of Rules #32]
* "Flamboyant" celebrations will be penalized automatically for 15 yards. [2004 NFL Rule Changes and Clarifications]
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