NFL Fines Quarterback for Gesture During Touchdown Celebration

The National Football League (NFL) recently made headlines when it handed down fines to two members of the Cleveland Browns, including quarterback Deshaun Watson, for making gestures pretending to fire guns after a touchdown. This controversial celebration drew attention and criticism from fans and analysts alike.


Deshaun Watson, known for his dynamic playing style and on-field charisma, has been a polarizing figure throughout his career. Prior to this incident, he had already faced significant scrutiny and controversy due to allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. After an 11-game suspension, Watson returned to the field, only to find himself once again at the center of attention, this time for his touchdown celebration.

The Violent Gesture

During a third-quarter touchdown celebration, Watson and his teammate, tight end David Njoku, engaged in a “violent gesture” that involved pretending to shoot guns towards each other for approximately one second. This gesture, which appeared to be their own signature handshake, caught the attention of the league and resulted in fines for both players.

The NFL’s Response

The NFL, in an effort to maintain the integrity of the game and discourage violent or inappropriate behavior, swiftly took action against Watson and Njoku. The league fined both players $13,659 for their role in the gun-themed celebration. Additionally, Watson received two fines for “unnecessary roughness,” further exacerbating his financial penalty. At the end of the day, Watson’s total fines amounted to $35,513.

Watson’s Explanation

Following the game, Watson took responsibility for his actions and acknowledged that the penalties were his fault. However, he also defended himself, stating that the facemask penalties were a result of his attempts to release his arm when defenders grabbed onto him. Watson expressed a desire to improve his technique and avoid such penalties in the future.

Repercussions of the Celebration

The gun-themed celebration by Watson and Njoku sparked a debate among fans, players, and analysts regarding the appropriateness of such gestures on the field. Some argued that the celebration was harmless and a form of self-expression, while others believed it glorified violence and sent the wrong message to young fans.

NFL’s Sexual Assault Policy Changes

It is worth noting that Watson’s touchdown celebration occurred against the backdrop of the NFL revising its sexual assault policy. In August 2023, the league announced changes to the policy, aiming to address sexual assault offenses more effectively. The revised policy includes a base-level suspension of six games without pay for a first violation of sexual assault involving physical force, coercion, or against someone incapable of giving consent. A second offense can result in a lifetime ban from the league.



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