Volume 93, Issue 52

Wednesday, December 1, 1999


Lancers skewered by Mustangs

Badminton team makes rivals watch the birdie

Keeping squashing streak alive

Taunting - it's just unnecessary

The last Canadian hockey dynasty

Taunting - it's just unnecessary

Last week the National Football League announced they would be cracking down on the throat cut motion which many NFL players have been making after a big play or a touchdown. About time.

Through the past few years I have noticed an alarming trend in sports – every time a point is scored, there is a celebration which ensues. It's becoming a trademark of players, where they must have some form of taunt to throw at the opposing bench. From Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jaromir Jagr's "hand kiss" to the Atlanta Falcons' "Dirty Bird," the post scoring celebrations are just getting out of hand.

Sure, this may sound like an idealist's philosophy, but there is only so much fans can take. I was watching the Grey Cup the other night and I couldn't help but notice the number of times that, after a tackle, players would stand over each other trying to menace the person they just hit. What does that prove, other than the fact you're a complete jack ass?

If you watch old sports highlights, many times after a score most players would simply bow their heads and prepare for the next play. How many times did you see Gordie Howe kiss his fist after a goal? Watch old videos of Wayne Gretzky or Bobby Orr and you'll see they never celebrated their goals unless it was an emotional moment. However, there is a difference between emotion and taunting.

Unfortunately, many players who participate in post scoring celebrations, do so not for emotions, but rather notoriety. Think back to last year's Super Bowl and the number of bastardized "Dirty Birds" floating around.

Taunting is probably one of the worst things about sports today. Athletes who taunt are not only disrespecting their opponents, but their teammates as well. By taunting after a hit or a score, they are essentially demonstrating a complete lack of sportsmanship. Growing up, I was never taught to dance after a goal or to prance around the bases after a home run but instead, to get ready for the next play.

Taunting has even trickled down to the level of minor league sports such as pee-wee hockey. When you watch a hockey game played by kids, the players often ride their sticks like Tiger Williams used to after a goal, or are preforming some other form of taunt to the opposing team. Is this something we really want to teach young children?

The NFL has done the right thing by deciding to fine and penalize those players who use the throat cut gesture, but they need to do more – they need to curb all the taunting which occurs in the game. There is a difference between celebrating the final touchdown in the Super Bowl and scoring and dancing after a touchdown in a losing effort. One is out of emotion, the other is a product of pure ego.

If you don't believe taunting is a problem, then the next time you're watching a game, count the number of times you see a player make an obscene gesture or taunt the other team in any form. I guarantee it will surprise you.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999