Win at all costs.
It’s what children hear when they grow up playing sports, and it’s what our favorite athletes hear every day.
But when is simply beating someone not enough? For players in the National Football League, that question seems to be put in the back of their minds, along with their maturity.
In the Monday Night Football matchup on Oct. 28, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate took showboating too far.
After he caught a pass and realized he was going to score, he turned around and started waving bye-bye to a St. Louis Rams defensive back.
A classless move that left viewers shaking their heads and wondering where Tate’s was on that play.
Before the 2013-14 season started, the NFL said it was going to start cracking down on players that act like Tate did. That’s fine and all, but its punishments do not discourage players from doing it.
For a league that wants to pride itself on its upstanding citizens and golden boys like Tom Brady and Drew Brees, it doesn’t make much sense that that kind of behavior is condoned.
Yes, Tate drew a taunting penalty on the play, but he didn’t cost his team the touchdown or the win.
That 15-yard penalty that he drew was simply not enough. Players will continue to “taunt” as long as they know that they’ll still be awarded the points.
That simple fact is why the rules need to change in the NFL.
Make a taunting penalty a spot foul. This meaning, whatever spot or yard line a player commits the penalty on, that is where the 15-yard penalty should be enforced.
This will accomplish two things:
One, a player will have to bring their maturity level to the forefront and think before they act.
Two, when a player is accountable to his team, he is less likely to do the same thing twice. As soon as a player’s actions hurts his teammates is when he’ll finally start to grow up.
Now if the NFL doesn’t want to do anything, teams have the ability to self police. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll should have sent Tate to the showers after that boneheaded play.
If Carroll set that precedent, then other teams would have no choice but to do the same at the expense of looking like an inferior organization that doesn’t care about public image.
Now, all that is not to say that the NFL should take away celebration from football. After all, the game is very emotional and the male testosterone levels on that field are at an all time high.
However, there is a difference between the two verbs. Celebration is not showing up the other team, it is about acknowledging your accomplishments, like beating the other team.
Taunting is an insulting and provoking action that shows no respect for your fellow players.
So please Mr. Tate and fellow NFL players, think before you act next time.