At the end of Thursday night’s Browns-Broncos game, Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall caught the go-ahead touchdown with 1:14 remaining in the game. He appeared to pull something out of his uniform, but Brandon Stokley, his fellow Bronco receiver, ran over to him shaking his head no. I saw this clearly and couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. After the game, Marshall explained:
After the game, Marshall, who is black, read a statement he wrote about how inspired he was by Obama becoming the first black man elected to the nation’s highest office.
“Barak Obama’s election as the 44th president of the United States is a tremendous symbol of unity,” Marshall said. “I want to create that symbol of unity because Obama inspires me (and) a multicultural society, and I know at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised that black glove and fist in a silent gesture of black power and liberation.
“Forty years later, I wanted to make my own statement and gesture to represent the progress we made,” Marshall said. “I might get some criticism, but social landmarks are bigger than fines to me, especially two days out of an historic election.”
Stokley had a good reason to do what he did. The NFL flags people for excessive celebrations and a 15-yard penalty on the kickoff might have eventually cost Denver the game. But the NFL missed out on what would have been a very memorable moment for the league. Instead, they reinforced their stereotype as the No Fun League. They do this to avoid controversy, but when you’re always trying to avoid controversy, you end up just being boring. I’m ok with a stupid Terrell Owens touchdown celebration once in a while if it means we get to see one that’s truly inspired.