Jimmy Graham decided to protest the NFL’s decision to ban dunking on the goal posts on Thursday night, and the result was two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after he found the end zone twice. New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton chewed Graham out after the second penalty and told reporters after the game that he was upset with his tight end. Graham now sounds ready to give up his favorite celebration.
“For four years and however many touchdowns I always dunked it,” Graham said Sunday, per Larry Holder of The Times-Picayune. “I just got to stop doing that now.”
Graham, who literally bent the goal posts during a game against the Atlanta Falcons last season, is probably the reason the dunking celebration has been outlawed. While he said he wouldn’t take back Thursday’s dunks, he insisted he would never intentionally cost his team 15 yards during the regular season.
“I haven’t (been fined),” Graham said. “That’s just the rule, which is unfortunate because I just love the game. I have a lot of passion for the game. I go out there on Sunday and it’s fun for me. It’s just fun. Act like a little kid out there, and sometimes I act like it.”
Not surprisingly, it sounds like Payton has forgiven his franchise cornerstone.
“I’m his biggest fan,” Payton said. “I’m sure as we get going here that type of thing isn’t going to be a problem. Rules are changing constantly whether we like them or voted for them or any of those things. He’s outstanding. He’ll be ready to go.”
If the NFL is worried about Graham or anyone else bending the goal posts, they should reinforce them. The No Fun League needs more personality. Tell me Chad Johnson or Ochocinco or whatever you want to call him wasn’t entertaining when he was relevant. Let the entertainers entertain.