NFL needs to lighten up on the Salvation Army kettle celebrations

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Since 2017, the NFL has embraced player celebrations, ending decades of No Fun League attitude and turning it into a marketing ploy. But there’s still a glitch or two that the league needs to iron out.

The biggest comes in the shape of a large red kettle that the Cowboys put in their end zone every Thanksgiving, leaving it there through the end of the regular season to promote the efforts of the Salvation Army to raise money for the less fortunate. Though the kettle is clearly part of the field, the NFL has fined Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for depositing $21 into the kettle following a touchdown, and for later depositing quarterback Dak Prescott into it. (Prescott got a warning letter for his involvement in the stunt.)

Contrast that with 2016, when Elliott jumped into the kettle but didn’t receive a fine — even though the league had yet to change the rules to promote celebrations.

Technically, yes, the use of the kettle as a prop violates the language of the rulebook, since only the ball can be used as a prop when celebrating. So why not change the rule?

More importantly, what’s the reason for not changing the rule? There’s nothing about putting cash or teammates in the kettle that creates animosity between teams or otherwise sends a message that the league shouldn’t want to send. Instead, it promotes giving to the cause the Cowboys embraced years ago, with the kettle now in its 21st year of on-field use.

Hell, why not put a kettle in every end zone at every stadium, space permitting? If the NFL wants a free and easy way to be a responsible corporate citizen, the active incorporation of the Salvation Army kettle into touchdown celebrations at every NFL venue would do the trick.

At a minimum, let players who play in Dallas have some fun with the kettle, including the players from the visiting team. Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore produced $23 from his pants last Thursday and dropped it into the kettle. Hopefully, he won’t be fined for it.

27 responses to “NFL needs to lighten up on the Salvation Army kettle celebrations

  1. I agree that there should be kettles in every stadium. There are so many people that need and depend on the Salvation Army, especially at holiday time. My place of employment is very involved with them and they do wonderful things. I can’t see fining a guy for throwing money into the bucket after a TD, or just bringing attention to it. The NFL should make an exception on this one.

  2. I would rather see someone put money in a Salvation Army kettle than prance, twerk and thrust their pelvis at me.

  3. The NFL PR people need to be fired. Once again going the opposite direction. they should be out in front of this thing and saying the NFL will match any funds that players donate to the Salvation Army. And will donate X amount of dollars for any player that uses the kettle as part of their celebration. It’s not like they can’t afford it!

  4. I’m not a big fan of these “look at me” player antics. Even though in this case it is for a good cause, why make it about yourself?

    More respect to those players that contribute to society behind the scenes. As the saying goes, it’s what you do when nobody’s looking that counts the most.

  5. Not to be nitpicky, but the kettle isn’t literally in the end zone, nor is it clearly part of the field. It’s behind the end zone and it’s one of many things that are on the field (not the playing field) that are not part of the field. If they let them use the kettle as a prop, why not let them use anything they find on the field as a prop? A photographer’s camera, a cheerleader, a cell phone? If they make one exception to the rule, will they have to write other exceptions in? It gets ridiculous after a while.

  6. I thought the NFL was trying to support positive contributions toward communities and what is more positive than encouraging the spirit of giving. With all the victims of natural disasters throughout our country, as well as people just trying to feed kids and provide a roof,I would think that the NFL would be applauding this support of the Salvation Army and other service organizations.
    But then, some people just seem to what to find fault even in things that aren’t hurting anyone and actually are humanitarian efforts.

  7. Liberalsruineverything says: “Micro management on irrelevant issues and ignorance on big issues. Sounds like Goodell’s NFL in a nutshell.”

    What?? The NFL has a general rule – no using props. Allowing the kettle as an exception is the very definition of micromanagement.

  8. I am not a fan of the Look at me players either.But during a NFL game NO player’s should be allow to jump into the kettle or throw money into the kettle. And the Fine should be excessive High against any players that break this rule. If these Show Boat / Look at me Player’s . Really want to help the Salvation Army.Then give real money to the organization. They make Millions of Dollars. So, Elliot give a donation of a whole $21.00. Why didn’t Elliot donate a check for $21,000, instead?? And amount that will really help the Salvation army. Most normal, regular Joe,Jane give $21.00 to the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army is a Great charity to give money to.I donate monthly to that organization.I also agree the NFL need to have the kettle’s at every NFL stadium. And NFL need to donate also.

  9. I always love to people that talk about a slippery slope. Well here is the slippery slope. I also loathe the people that coined the NFL the no fun league like it was some stoke of genius that came up with the acronym. So now all these self absorbed millionaires can run around the field anytime they want, you know after a turnover, a sack a big stop on 1st down but one thing they can’t do is use props. Oh wait except for these props and maybe those props. Oh come on let them use props! Why can’t you just let them use props. Next up when the next diva WR scores be like … Act 1 Seance 1 we just scored a TD. let the real show begin. You might want to go to the concession stands first so you can enjoy the production

  10. This is just so typical NFL. They need to get out of the bunker every now and then and see how real human beings think and feel.

    Just keep the “no props” rule but announce that in the holiday spirit they will not only waive all fines for using the Salvation Army kettle as a prop, they’ll donate what the fine would have been to the Salvation Army. Encourage other teams to put a Salvation Army pot near their end zones too and make a big deal out of the League and players supporting help for less fortunate.

    Is this really so hard? The League people need to have their alien masters download some updated fake-human software into their skulls.

  11. “Why didn’t Elliot donate a check for $21,000, instead??”

    td96tbird, both Zeke and Dak contributed $21,000 to the Salvation Army after the game.

    “Elliott, Prescott and the Cowboys each have committed $21,000 to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign in honor of Elliott’s jersey number. He said the NFL should donate his fine to the Salvation Army, even though fines are earmarked for programs for former players.”

    Not only do his celebrations with the Kettle raise awareness of the charity, he puts his money to work, too. Maybe stop being such a hater and loosen up a bit? Might get invited to some more parties 😉

  12. Maybe the rules committee needs to study the impact on in/out of kettle jumping. Then the commissioner can take the matter under advisement. Then again, maybe the NFL could get its head out of their kettle.

  13. NFL goes way overboard ,however where do they draw the line ? Maybe the Packer players should not be allowed to jump into the stands for they are using the fans as a prop.
    The question is what harm was done?

  14. At halftime, if they put Roger Goodell in a dunk tank and charged $100 per throw that red kettle would be so full there would not be room left for Zeke to add his $21.

  15. What about the Lambeau Leap? Seems to me that is using props and unfair to let one team have their own “Trademark Celebration” and not allow other teams the opportunity to develop their own too.

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