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Alexander Mattison appeared to go down with a hamstring injury after scoring a touchdown during Sunday’s NFL game against the Jets. However, as it would turn out, the injury was part of his celebration.
In fooling everybody with his fake injury, Mattison exposed a double standard with the NFL’s touchdown celebration policies. It comes full-circle with the Key & Peele skit…
Let’s break it down.
Over the summer, NWSL midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta scored on a penalty kick. After finding the back of the net, she grabbed her leg as if she had pulled a muscle.
Moments later, she revealed that it was all a rouse and twerked on everybody. It was hilarious.
Two months later, Lions running back Jamaal Williams scored a touchdown and celebrated with a pelvic thrust. He was penalized during the game and later fined $13,000 for his antics.
Much like in the Key & Peele skit, Williams was flagged for exceeding the three-pump rule. It’s not a real rule in the NFL, but it was nearly identical to the comedy sketch.
So where am I going with this?
Well, if Williams’ hip thrust warranted a penalty, LaBonta’s fake hamstring injury turned twerk would also warrant a flag if she was to play in the NFL, right? Her thrusts may have been less egregious than Williams’ but the standard is the standard.
If Williams was flagged for excessive celebration, as would have LaBonta. I’m not saying it’s right because neither celebration deserved to be penalized, I’m just pointing out the similarities between the two.
Bear with me, this all comes back to Alexander Mattison.
On Sunday, Mattison paid homage to LaBonta. The Vikings running back found the end zone in the second quarter and pulled up with a hamstring injury. He, too, was faking and proceeded to hit a twerk while on his hands and knees.
There were three pumps in Mattison’s twerk. He violated the Key & Peele rule.
But no flag. His celebration was not deemed excessive, and rightfully so.
Mattison was not excessive in his celebration. Though nor was Williams.
That begs a couple of questions…
Why did one form of hip thrust warrant a penalty and the other did not? Is it okay to hip thrust into the ground in form of a twerk but not into the air?
The No Fun League has a completely subjective standard when it comes to celebrations. One thing flies for one officiating crew, but might not be allowed by another. It makes no sense.
To solve the issue is simple. The NFL should let the players celebrate however they want.
Football is fun. Sports are fun. Touchdown celebrations are fun. Hip thrusts are fun.
Let them have fun.