If you happened to check Philadelphia Eagles dot com recently you may have seen this headline.
It's an article about the contributions Eagles rookies have made this year highlighted by a picture of Desean Jackson and Quintin Demps celebrating after Jackson's punt return against the Redskins. A nice picture after a great moment...
Only, it's acually a picture of two players commiting an illegal act in the NFL's eyes. An act so egregious that the NFL saw fit to fine each player ten thousand dollars a piece.
Now let's put the issue of whether two players crossing their arms and looking at each other is so horrible aside. We've discussed that and we agree it's nonsense. The question I have is that if the celebration doesn't belong on an NFL field, how does it belong on an NFL website?
The NFL can't have it both ways.
You can't fine these players $10,000 a piece for a celebration and then glorify it by having it featured on one of your sites. If I were Demps or Jackson I'd be incensed to see an image of a celebration that cost me 10 grand being exploited by a member of the organization that fined me for it. It also sends a mixed message. On one hand a player is fined for celebrating on the field and on the other he gets a big picture of the celebration on the team website with an accompanying article talking about how great he is.
We've heard players complain in the past about hits they've been fined for showing up on highlight DVDs or on NFL network promos. How many times have we seen Terrell Owens in highlight packages eating a bag of popcorn in celebration, when the use of a prop in celebrations is expressively forbidden by the NFL? It's simply not right.
Now, I don't blame the Eagles or their web staff for putting up the photo. It's a fun picture and was a great moment in the season so far... But if the NFL is trying to discourage these celebrations, surely they should be telling their teams not to glorify them?
Of course... the NFL could always take the smart approach and just stop fining guys for doing something as tame as crossing their arms and looking at each other!