The NFL continues to wage a war against fun. Through six weeks this season, NFL players have been fined $328,148 for taunting, celebrations, uniform violations, and other innocuous acts. For those keeping score at home, that's 4.5-times more money than New York Giants kicker Josh Brown lost while he served a one-game suspension for assaulting his wife.
When asked about these inexplicable priorities on U.K. television last week, commissioner Roger Goodell basically said the fans are too dumb to get where the league is coming from. "I understand the public’s misunderstanding of those things and how that can be difficult for them to understand how we get to those positions," Goodell said. "But those are things that we have to do. I think it’s a lot deeper and a lot more complicated than it appears but it gets a lot of focus."
Prior to the start of the season, the NFL decided to make cracking down on taunting and unsportsmanlike conduct a point of emphasis for officials. Unsurprisingly, penalties for both are up.
On Sunday, there were several examples yet again of the NFL's no fun edict stretching too far.
Michael Crabtree's "throat slash"
Crabtree got a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Jaguars. He got it because he supposedly made a throat slash gesture.
And just look at how dramatic it was.
Was he making a gesture or brushing a bug off his shoulder? Hard to say!
Jarvis Landry spins the ball
Miami's No. 1 receiver got a first down on a 26-yard catch late in the first quarter. He spun the ball on the sidelines, and that negated it. The drive started over, but ended with a punt.
This was what Landry did.
Seriously. That's it.
Byron Maxwell got a taunting call late in the fourth quarter too.
Don't argue with the ref
Jameis Winston got a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct for jawing at the official over the spot of the ball. It was fourth-and-inches until that penalty.
Is that legit? Probably more than, say, penalizing someone for spinning the ball or Crabtree's throat slash that wasn't, but it still seems a little ticky tack.
Leave it to Rob Gronkowski to have a tasteful dance and spike that passes muster with the prudes in the league office.
Just a little wiggle, you know, it's cool.
How's that going to go next week when Gronk reaches the Gronkest of all milestones, his 69th career touchdown? He already seems pretty jazzed about it.
We expect it to be nice.
Steve Smith wore purple cleats to promote domestic violence awareness. He would have been fined if he'd actually been on the field during the game, but he was inactive dealing with an injury. At least the NFL didn't have to look like hypocrites on this one thing.
Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon wore "RIP Harambe" cleats, but he only did it during warmups to avoid the violation.