When I was 16 years old, I was a brash youngster. I was a good wide receiver on my High School team. My favorite players were Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders.
My nickname was Playtime (a combo Playmaker and Primetime) and I made a lot of plays. One play in particular though, I remember to this day.
We were down in a game my junior year trying to make a comeback. Corner try to bump me, but I avoided it and took off down the sideline. Had him beat by at least five yards and QB thew a perfect pass, but right before the ball got there I let out a……..
That momentary lapse in concentration to taunt the corner took my focus off the ball and I dropped it.
That is the day I learned humility and not to taunt your opponent. I had let my myself and more importantly my team down. Taunting on any level should be discourage, but what I learned you can celebrate without taunting your opponent and letting down your opponents.
There is a clear line between taunting and celebrating. I learned a hard lesson that day.
Fast forward to today and you have Stevie Johnson mocking Plaxico Buress shooting himself and a couple of things went through my mind.
First, I thought it was a bit much, but he isn’t the fight player ever to mock another player’s dance or unfortunate event. Secondly why did he fall on the ground because that is what caused the penalty? He wasn’t taunting, he wasn’t thinking. That speaks of immaturity. Johnson apologized for it because I think he realized he took it too far. Being humble and understanding you made a mistake is part of the maturation process.
Did I think anything of Johnson being able to celebrate? No, because what he did was within the rules and he didn’t do it toward a Jets player. It was more of a class issue than a taunting issue.
Just when the “incident” had died down, here comes Costas riding in on his High Horse and with an utterly ridiculously Sunday Night Football Monologue. I will break it down line by line, to tell you why it was so crazy and why it did have stereotypical overtones.
Costas starts off taking a shot at the Kardashians, he states things like watching the Kardashians makes our society stupid and graceless. Right from that moment you should have stopped listening to anything he says.
Because you like looking at Kim Kardashian that makes you “stupid and graceless”? What if I watch Fear Factor, CSI or The Bold and The Beautiful what does that make me? Is that how we quantify our intelligence and grace?
It gets better though.
Costas speaks on Homer Jones who in his words created the Simple and Elegant spike.
But what Costas left out was that Jones “preplanned” the spike because he wanted his “own” celebration since other players threw the ball in the stands. Jones wanted to be “different” and stand out as an “individual”, had nothing to do with elegance.
This was Costas first lie.
Costas then makes the assumption that Mark Gastineau Sack dance wasn’t as cool as Barry Sanders handing ball to ref. But in reality Gastineau dance was cool and it doesn’t mean anything was wrong with Sanders handing the ball to ref. One isn’t better than the other, but once again I guess that makes me stupid and graceless if I like Gastineau’s way of celebrity right?
But this is the line where Costas monologue could have made a good point but went off track.
“There is a difference between spontaneous and/or good-natured displays of enthusiasm and calculated displays of obnoxious self-indulgence.”
The problem is Costas differences is based on ignorance. The Lambeau Leap or The Dougie. To someone under 40 the Dougie is just a fun silly dance. The Lambeau Leap is a calculated maneuver, so that didn’t make any sense. The montage proceeds to show celebrations that the conservative majority approves of while putting down harmless celebrations of players just having fun in their own way. Is Marion Barber face planting a back flip really that bad?
Bob Costas is not the judge and jury on what is fun and what is self indulgence especially when his whole persona is self indulgence.
If the monologue ended there I probably wouldn’t have written this article, but Costas then leaves a subliminal message that is hard to ignore.
hey, knuckleheads, is it too much to ask that you confine your buffoonery to situations that don’t directly damage your team? Week after week, game after game, we see guys who think nothing of incurring penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct, costing their team’s valuable yardage, even late in close games.
Today’s most conspicuous culprit: Buffalo’s Stevie Johnson, who after a TD catch versus the Jets, thought it would be a good idea to go Marcel Marceau, pantomiming, among other things, Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg. But in this case, it was Johnson, who shot himself in the foot, as his display cost his team a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff. And given a short field, the Jets proceeded to score in a critical game that wound up, 28-24, New York.
Almost all the highlights shown in the montage didn’t lead to penalties. That is the first hypocritical comment. Stevie Johnson who is being called out for “Buffoonery” didn’t get penalized for being “Marcel Marceau” he was penalized for going to the ground, so the so called “Buffoonery” didn’t cost his team it was his lack of knowledge of the rules that did.
Costas second lie is the 15 yard penalty gave the Jets the short field. While they were pushed back, the kicker shanking kickoff was the reason the Jets started in Bills territory. That was conveniently forgotten.
Using a term like Buffoon while singling out a majority of African-American players is nothing but code for “hood, Ghetto, hip hop & Afrocentric” type behavior and that is exactly how the majority of the white audience will take it.
When in reality from Rodgers “Championship Belt” dance to Jared Allen “Hog Tie” dance, celebrations have no race, but I am sure the term Buffoon wouldn’t have been used if was Jordy Nelson who mocked Plaxico.
Stevie Johnson and Plaxico Burress handle the situation like men, the only Buffoon in this situation is Costas who by perpetuating stereotypes with bold face lies and ignorance, proved he isn’t as smart as he think he is.