The NFL has, for many years, been criticized for being too restrictive on how players can express themselves on the field. For their part, the NFL was not interested in seeing a continued proliferation of demonstrations on the field that went a little too far for their family-friendly product.
I can understand both sides here.
But I also think most can agree that the reins started to get too tight in recent years, with players being flagged for exceedingly mild celebrations – things that occurred without preplanning, without offensive overtones, and without anything more than a dude being excited that he just scored a touchdown. For a sport dealing with a variety of image issues, cracking down on guys flipping a football after scoring a touchdown is not a good look.
To that end, ESPN reports that the league is considering loosing up a bit on those penalties, allowing “harmless and spontaneous celebrations.” At Super Bowl LI, ESPN notes, Commissioner Roger Goodell himself acknowledged a desire to balance sportsmanship with allowing players to express themselves with excitement. A final decision and new guidelines could come later this offseason.
So … does that mean Antonio Brown can twerk without fear of reprisal?