They don’t call it the “No Fun League” for nothing.
The NFL has been ridiculed in recent years for implementing a series of new rules that penalize teams for various reasons, from taunting to unsportsmanlike conduct (and yes, there’s apparently a difference), but none have been as ridiculous as the social media policy that went into effect Wednesday.
The policy forbids all teams from posting television highlights directly onto their social media accounts; and it forbids teams from turning those highlights into GIFs.
It also prohibits teams from using Facebook Live or Periscope to stream anything live within any NFL stadium, and disallows teams from shooting video inside any stadium during the game and posting it on social media.
The NFL has reasons, but that doesn’t mean they are good ones.
Needless to say, it handcuffs each teams’ social media accounts from posting anything worthwhile to the fans who may be missing the action.
On Sunday, however, the official Twitter handles of both the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles took a stand in a hilarious way:
Since neither team was allowed to show actual highlights, these were to suffice.
It was a unique but poignant jab at the NFL, who continues to make decisions that many players feel are taking away the “fun” element of the game.
On Sunday, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks scored an 87-yard touchdown and began to celebrate with his signature bow-and-arrow dance, but decided against it after the league made it clear the celebration was an illegal one two weeks ago.
Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman was penalized and fined for performing it earlier this season because it “mimics a violent act”, according to the league’s head of officiating Dean Blandino.
Cooks, who said he has celebrated with the bow-and-arrow for three years now and has never been fined, didn’t want the team penalized for his actions and decided not to celebrate with it.
“There was never a complaint about it,” Cooks told the New Orleans Advocate. “Now, all of a sudden, there is. It just reminds me that, it’s almost as if they try to take so much away from us, but for something like this, that means so much to someone that has nothing to do with violence, it’s frustrating.
“I’ll definitely continue to speak my opinion about it, and if they have a problem with it, so be it.”
Cooks said the gesture is a religious one and he demonstrates it as a show of faith to God; the action is based on a pair of Bible passages.
The NFL is expected to review all of these instances, including the social media policy plan, in their weekly meetings.
Until then, it will be interesting to see how each team handles displaying highlights for the rest of the season.