Officials thought Fred Davis made a lewd gesture
As noted earlier, Sam Huff found Fred Davis's dance to be vulgar, but I'm not sure that's the case. Reader Phil was actually at the game, with an up-front look at Fred's dance, and he sent along this video. I still can't figure out what went wrong.
Here's what Davis said about his celebration, to Extreme Skins's Brian Murphy:
Man, [the official] tried to say I flicked them off. I didn't see myself, but that's what he said, he said you flicked off the fans. I was just like, I don't know what you're talking about. But you're away, so I guess you've got to keep it to a minimum and just [watch] the refs.
Some Raiders fans did indeed claim that Davis's celebration was lewd (See photo below). This is from the Silver and Black Report:
Where Bizzarro World comes into play is where an official can equally flag Raiders cornerback Chris Johnson for dropping to both knees with his arms outstretched to God after returning an interception for a touchdown against the Texans earlier in the year and flag Washington Redskins TE Fred Davis for making the universal "Cuckold" gesture after scoring a touchdown against the Raiders. You may ask, "What do these two examples have to do with one another?" They don't...and that's the point. By sheer example of how the celebrations were viewed by the ruling officials, these NFL officials see kneeling to praise God (or for that matter, praising the planet Jupiter if you're an atheist) on par with giving the universal gesture of having sex with another man's adulterous wife. Unbelievable!
So did Davis give the universal gesture of having sex with another man's adulterous wife? I guess I'm not totally sure. But here, for the record, are the NFL's official rules about unsportsmanlike celebrations:
There shall be no unsportsmanlike conduct. This applies to any act which is contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship. Such acts specifically include, among others....:
* Individual players involved in prolonged or excessive celebrations. Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground. A celebration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate after a warning from an official.
* Two-or-more players engage in prolonged, excessive, premeditated, or choreographed celebrations.
* Possession or use of foreign or extraneous object(s) that are not part of the uniform during the game on the field or the sideline, or using the ball as a prop.
Obviously he didn't use the ball as a prop. The two-or-more thing is a reach, even though Stephon Heyer patted Davis on the head and rump during his dance. Which leaves us with "prolonged or excessive." And I just don't see it.
"If you want to dance, get up," Titans Coach Jeff Fisher, co-chairman of the competition committee, said when these new rules were announced. He meant that dancing was ok, as long as you stay on your feet.
In case you haven't yet read enough about Davis, Jim Zorn discussed the second-year tight end at length on his ESPN 980 show this week, saying that Davis had been lax in preparation before Chris Cooley got hurt.
"The speed and his production was gonna be there, because of his physical talent," Zorn said. "Now for him, when he came in, it was hard to get him up to speed, because he was frustrated because he wasn't playing here. He had Chris Cooley in front of him, and he was gonna have to wait his turn. So his effort on preparation was a little lax, if you will, in my mind. And now he's starting to come on.
"And then with Chris out of the way, it's just allowed him to flourish, to get all the reps, to be the focal point of our tight end coach basically. I mean, that's what he's concentrating on: Fred Davis. That has dramatically helped him. What he's done this season so far has really pushed his level of play up, because of the reps he's been getting. You hear, 'well, he's a rep guy.' Well I would say he is. And whether he'll be a Tony Gonzalez, that's not even a discussion. I guess it's discussion fodder, if you will, but he's not quite there yet as far as his maturity in this league. He hasn't done much yet, but he's showing sparks of real talent."
Kevin Sheehan then asked what happens when Cooley comes back, which a lot of fans have been wondering.
"That's what we've been trying to do from the start," Zorn said. "Fred needs those reps. I mean, that's what we've seen, he needs those reps to get better, and he has. Now that he's got that experience, the last eight games, I think he'll only get better next year because he's got some inspiration to not allow this thing to start ebbing back down. We've been trying to do that all along, get both those guys involved in the gameplan."
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