The NFL has once again made its stance clear on any type of violent behavior, even if it is simply a playful gesture. Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson and tight end David Njoku have both been fined for their actions during a touchdown celebration in the third quarter of their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The league determined that Watson and Njoku committed a “violent gesture” when they playfully pretended to shoot guns at each other after scoring a touchdown. The two had created a signature handshake that included mimicking shooting guns, and it seemed harmless at the time. However, the NFL saw it differently and handed down a fine of $13,659 for their actions.
This is not the first time the NFL has cracked down on celebratory gestures, and it seems they are serious about sending a message. In fact, last year, the league implemented a new rule that banned players from using the football as a prop or making any type of violent gesture, such as a throat slash. The rule was met with mixed reactions from players and fans, with some arguing that it takes the fun and personality out of the game.
However, the league has stood by its decision, stating that they do not want any type of violent behavior to be glorified on the field. This includes not only gestures but also hits and tackles that are deemed too aggressive or dangerous. The NFL has been under scrutiny in recent years for not taking player safety seriously, and this seems to be another step in their efforts to change that perception.
Some may argue that Watson and Njoku’s actions were harmless and should not have resulted in a fine, especially considering the context of their celebration. However, the NFL does not condone any type of behavior that could potentially be seen as promoting violence. They take their responsibility as role models for young fans very seriously, and they want to ensure that their players are setting a good example both on and off the field.
Watson and Njoku have not publicly commented on the fines, but it is likely that they will appeal the decision. This is not the first time a player has been fined for a celebration, and it probably won’t be the last. The NFL is determined to enforce its rules and regulations, and players need to be aware of what is and is not acceptable during their celebrations.