When Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins scored a touchdown against the Patriots on Sunday, he celebrated in the most boring way possible, and he did it specifically to troll the NFL.
Hawkins gently placed the ball on the ground and stiffly walked away like a robot, because he didn’t want to risk being fined by the NFL for being happy about scoring a touchdown.
"Everything you do gets fined nowadays, right?" Hawkins told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. "Me seeing the tape of what not to do — and I get it, rules are rules — but I thought it would be funny to do that and troll the whole situation, so that's what I did."
The NFL has cracked down on taunting penalties this season, with several penalties issued each week and astronomical fines assigned to players who violate the rule. Antonio Brown was fined $24,309 for his hip pumping in Week 4, after being fined $9,115 for twerking after a touchdown in Week 1.
Players are also being flagged and fined regularly for celebrations that aren’t even remotely sexually suggestive.
Hawkins’ teammate Terrelle Pryor was fined after Week 4 for celebrating a touchdown by mimicking Cleveland Cavs great LeBron James. Pryor did have the ball in his hand, so he was flagged for using the ball as a prop, but as touchdown celebrations go, this one was extremely mild. Still, the league hit Pryor with a $9,000 fine. (Maybe Roger Goodell is a Warriors fan?)
There’s no word on whether Hawkins will celebrate future touchdowns in a similar fashion.
"I don't know, Hawkins said. “I've got to get in (the end zone) first.”
With the Browns’ uncertainty at the quarterback position, that may prove to be a real challenge for Hawkins. Cleveland has had five different quarterbacks on the field through five weeks of the season, including Pryor, who was the emergency backup when both Cody Kessler and Charlie Whitehurst suffered injuries in Week 5 against the Patriots.
Touchdown celebrations around the league were boring in Week 5, because players don’t want to shell out thousands of dollars for celebrating. Hawkins’ deliberately boring celebration intended to troll the league was probably the most entertaining one. Take that, NFL.