California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Don’t want him to dance? Don’t let him score

    The Carolina Panthers’ quarterback, Cam Newton has led his team to a perfect season thus far at 12-0.  Newton has gained recognition for his end zone celebrations, particularly his Week 10 performance in Tennessee.  From NFL analyst Chris Berman to Ohio State’s coach Urban Meyer, Newton has inspired the football world to break out and dance and “dab on them folks.”

    Not everyone thought Newton’s celebratory dance was entertaining.  A Tennessee resident and mother, Rosemary Plorin and her nine-year-old daughter attended the Nov. 15 game in Nashville, and they considered Newton’s end zone behavior offensive that depicted “egotism, arrogance and poor sportsmanship.”

    Plorin wrote a letter to the Panthers’ quarterback and also sent a copy to the Charlotte Observer that was published the Monday following the Panthers’ 27-10 win over the Titans. 

    Plorin expressed her disdain with Newton’s “in-your-face” style of celebration, and how the dancing is not something kids should be looking up to.

    Newton responded to the letter by apologizing and saying he never meant to offend anyone, but dancing is a part of who he is and he’s not going to change that, according to Titan Insider’s website.

    “I heard somebody say we aren’t going to allow you to do that, but if you don’t want me to do it, then don’t let me in [the end zone],” Newton said. 

    Touchdown celebrations are nothing new in the NFL.  The entertainment in the end zone dates back half a  century, starting in 1965 with New York Giants’ wide receiver Homer Jones being credited with the first “spike.”  Then there was Billy “White Shoes” Johnson’s version of the “Funky Chicken” in the seventies, and of course, Ickey Woods’ 1988 debut of the disastrous, yet delightful “Ickey Shuffle.”

    Touchdown celebrations are part of the constitution of the National Football League.  What is Green Bay without the “Lambeau Leap” or the Atlanta Falcons without the “Dirty Bird?”     

    “It’s natural for any athlete or team to celebrate the accomplishments made on the playing field.  I think people are overreacting, and the NFL needs to loosen up on the rules regarding unsportsmanlike conduct and its celebration penalties,” Cal Lutheran senior Kurtis Grooner said.  “Have you seen soccer players celebrate after a goal?  They run around the field with their shirts off, like they just escaped from a mental hospital or something.”

    According to the NFL rulebook, unsportsmanlike conduct such as excessive, pre-meditated or choreographed celebrations and use of foreign or on-field objects as props will result in a penalty.

    Analysts have joked about the NFL rulebook being more complicated and as complex as the IRS Codes.  While that comparison might not be true, the increase in penalties and yellow flags littering the field are definitely more prevalent today than ever before.

    Charles Benz, owner of a drug and alcohol treatment facility in Malibu, California, has helped NFL players and other athletes in their rehabilitation process. Benz believes the league has been so fixated on the violations on the field that they have lost sight of the bigger issues that occur off the field.

    “The NFL should be focusing more on the disciplinary actions that happen off the field.  In the last two years especially, the league has faced numerous matters of domestic violence and substance abuse amongst players, and they have handled those issues poorly, to say the least.  Behavioral health support isn’t well defined in the NFL, and these are the issues they need to worry about for the future of the league,” Benz said.      

    Whether it’s Cam Newton doing the “Dab” or Odell Beckham Jr. doing the “Milly Rock,” NFL players should be able to celebrate by dancing or jumping on their teammates or into the stands without the fear of a 15-yard penalty or fine.    

    “This isn’t Footloose. You are allowed to dance,” Panthers’ defensive end Jared Allen said.

    Kevin Bacon might be the best solution to help relax the celebration policies in the NFL and to bring back the end zone entertainment America has known and loved for the last 50 years.

    Tate Rutland
    Staff Writer
    Published December 9th, 2015