By: Nate Wahl
With the recent uproar of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the NFL and beyond, I have decided to commit my time to go over some of the keys to what defines Unsportsmanlike conduct in the NFL.
To start, I would like to go over the all-stars when it comes to touchdowns dances, on field antics. Etc. In my lifetime there have been 5: Randy Moss, Joe Horn, Terrell Owens, Ickey Woods & St. Louis Rams which most people forget about. As a Packer fan it was hard to see Randy do that to us in the great venue we call the Frozen Tundra however, years later I find what he did hilarious and entertaining. We realize how harmless this was compared to Odell Beckham Jr. getting threatened with a bat last week against the Panthers. Joe Horn keeping a cell phone in the goal post was another one that was eye opening and hilarious although poor Joe had to pay $30,000 for that one phone call. My point is the players in the 90’s and early 2000’s had the flare to make us viewers at home laugh with their antics after the play compared to the players now that I like to call showboat.
I never had a problem with T.O. pulled a Sharpie out of his sock and signed a football for his corporate sponsors in the stands, I never had a problem with the Rams gathering around for a touchdown dance because it kept people on their toes. I might have not been enough to watch much of the Ickey Shuffle, but I bet the fans of the Cincinnati Bengals loved as did the fans at home.
What is one thing all of these players and teams have in common? They boosted ratings for the NFL not egos. The NFL needs to find a stance or a way of assessing Unsportsmanlike penalties as a whole. I believe in the stance of a Level One, Level Two, Level Three notion will satisfy the NFL’s need of punishment. Level one should be: accessed fine between $5,000-$15,000 no suspension Level Two: $20,000-$50,000, suspended until half time. Level Three: One game suspension without pay and a $100,000 fine.
Of course, accessing it from a levels standpoint, makes players liable for their own actions. They don’t understand the high viewing of children that watch the NFL and the conversations families have to have with their kids on proper sportsmanship. Children feed off what they do on the field so it won’t be long until we see 3rd graders “Doing The Dab” like Cam Newton with they get a touchdown in their flag football game.
To address the OBJ manner, were his actions out of line? Of course they were. Does he deserve to be suspended? Yes, absolutely! Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York said it best “suspended but not demonized” which he was by Josh Norman all day Sunday from a mental standpoint. I don’t think any player should get a baseball bat aimed in their direction on ANY football field. That action by that Carolina Panthers practice squad player is classless, although Norman still got fined for last week, it still doesn’t end the madness of Beckham Jr. vs. Norman in the future. Their war is just beginning.
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