Turn Away! Cast Off Thy Taunting Yoke!

Turn Away! Cast Off Thy Taunting Yoke!

By T. Kent Jones


"Avoid any actions where you approach an opponent or his bench and gesture, posture, or otherwise demonstrate any verbal or physical form of disrespect. Turn away. Take the opportunity to celebrate with your teammates and don't put officials in the position of having to make a judgment about whether or not your actions rise to the level of a foul. "— NFL video discouraging taunting


NFL Brethren, hearken unto me! Up from the turf lurk twin serpents entwined, twice envenom’d foes that wouldst poison thy hallowed ritual. 

Taunts and Disrespect be thy names, gaze upon their turpitude and mark well thy peril. 

Turn away! Reflect upon thy ways and repent! 

The league defined it thus: “The use of baiting or taunting acts or words that engender ill will between teams.” 

And indeed, on a hundredfold Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays have we beheld line dancing in the endzone, “rocking the baby,” Lambeau leaps, skipping like pixies, preening like supermodels, shushing the home crowd, slowing to a backward walk for touchdowns, disdainful backflips, waggling fingers and obscene tableaux enow to shame the Devil himself. 

Turn away! 

Ask thyself: Didst I grunt manfully from dawn til dusk in the weight room merely to gambol like a brazen coxcomb after a routine three and out? 

Must our moments of greatest glory be enshrined in a jester’s cap and bells? 

Wouldst our noble sweat congeal to basest bile?

Nay! I say unto thee, our nemesis is not you, our brother crouched across yon scrimmage line-- for we love thy mirror image as we love ourselves. 

It is wicked Pride that plots our undoing and it is against wicked Pride that we shouldst unloose our fiercest enmity. 

Turn away! Resist Pride’s crude enticements! 
Linebackers, Having just sacked your opponent’s franchise quarterback in the endzone to clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs, should your first thought not be ‘Wondrous heaven! Behold thy mighty works! I will consecrate this moment in silent meditation, humbly reflecting on fortune’s rich bounty.’ 

Wide receivers, after snaring a one-hand grab and tight roping your way down the sideline for a 75-yard romp to the house, would it not double your honor to then turn to your defender and say,

"Well played." Lend me thy hand, and so clasped in friendship, let us show the wide world the true meaning of victory?

Turn away!

And in so turning, officials shall not sit in judgment of thee, their penalties and scorn endure. 

Such men will ne’er know thy secret heart, nor we thine, so turn away from pride, brothers, and watch the seeds of rancor become flowers of purest amity. 

Each moment is sacred, inscribed in the Book of Eternity, so, kneel, kinsmen and let us be resolved. 

Let not our youthful exuberance overwhelm our heaven-sent reason. 

Let not the name on the back of the jersey be more important than the name on the front. 

Let not our children’s children look back at us in our time of grace and think, what an asshole. 

Amen.
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