- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Congratulations, Vernon Davis. Shoot all the jumpers you want next season, penalty-free. No, you will not get your $12,000 back.

In response to near-universal complaints over the league’s celebration penalties, including the one issued to Washington tight end Davis last fall for shooting the ball like a basketball following his second touchdown of the season, the NFL relaxed its unsportsmanlike conduct rules governing celebrations Tuesday.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to fans laying out the changes. Goodell explicitly outlined three actions — using the ball as a prop, celebrating on the ground (think snow angels in Green Bay) and celebrating as a group — that will no longer be considered penalty-worthy offenses.

The first, using the ball as a prop, was where Davis was said to have erred.

In the D.C. area and, to a lesser extent, around the league, Davis‘ celebration penalty was the quintessential example of a ridiculous fine over something the NFL should encourage — the harmless expression of joy.

For the record, Davis was fined $12,154 while Norman was fined $9,115 for “shooting a bow and arrow.” Norman’s display is still illegal because it pantomimes the use of a weapon, yet garnered the lower fine based on the collectively-bargained schedule of fines.

Lewd, violent and prolonged celebrations can still cost a player a chunk of change and his team 15 yards, but allowing players more room to express themselves and have fun playing the game betters the product on the field.

The NFL admitted that it was cracking down unnecessarily, and took a step to stop shooting itself in the foot (still a penalty, by the way).

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