The NFL has initiated strict rules for player conduct in recent years designed to remove inappropriate behaviors from the game. The latest offensive action? Saluting Veterans on Veteran's Day Weekend.
With about seven minutes left in last Sunday's NFL game between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver wide receiver Eric Decker scored on a 56 yard pass play from quarterback Tim Tebow to give the Broncos a 17 to 7 lead. Immediately Decker dropped to one knee and threw a salute in honor of Veterans everywhere. That's when the backlash began...
Since 2009 it has been illegal by rule in the NFL to kneel in the end zone, an action deemed to be excessive celebration and subject to a penalty flag. While it had no bearing on the outcome of the game, Decker and the Broncos were penalized for nothing more than acknowledging the contributions of America's Veterans in protecting our collective freedom.
For his part, Decker stated on Twitter "Thinking on the plane...sad to get a excessive celebration penalty for saluting the men and women in the military on Veteran's Weekend".
Although this incident may appear to give the NFL a black eye in the public relations arena, it is important to remember that the NFL is quite active in charitable endeavors directed at Veterans issues. The Pat Tillman Foundation, USO and Wounded Warrior Project have all benefited from NFL participation in some fashion.
It just seems somehow wrong to many football fans to penalize a player who thinks of honoring others first, especially during "Salute To Service" month in the NFL.