Ezekiel Elliott made a cash donation to the Salvation Army on Thanksgiving Day, and now he’ll make a more substantial donation to a charity of the NFL’s choosing.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has some history with over-sized Salvation Army kettles at AT&T Stadium. Nearly two years ago, he jumped into a kettle and drew a 15-yard penalty for using a prop to celebrate. The NFL has relaxed its celebration rules since then, short of using props, but Elliott has drawn a fine for something he did on Thanksgiving Day.
After he scored a touchdown against the Washington Redskins, Elliott dropped $21 into the red kettle in the back of the end zone. While the money can technically be called a prop in his celebration, he did not draw a penalty as a pretty clear nod to the spirit of giving and the harmless nature of the act.
But the NFL got around to issuing fines for player misdeeds in Week 12 on Saturday, and Elliott’s cash donation to the Salvation Army landed on the radar.
Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott ran for a touchdown of his own later in the game, and Elliott dropped him into the red kettle. That celebration did draw a penalty.
The combination of the two “offenses” seems to have helped Elliott draw the $13,369 fine. And it’s being labeled as “unsportsmanlike conduct” by the NFL. Yet Elliott did not taunt or attack an opposing player, or put an opposing player in danger with reckless action.
New England Patriots wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson grabbed New York Jets defensive end Henry Anderson in a man’s most sensitive spot last Sunday. His fine? $13,369. So in the NFL’s eyes, a ridiculous crotch grab/squeeze and using a Salvation Army kettle as a “prop” in a celebration (or two) are due equal financial penalty. The umbrella of what can be called unsportsmanlike conduct has surely never covered so much.
After Elliott’s kettle leap in 2016, the Salvation Army got a significant spike in donations. The same thing may occur this time around, and the NFL should easily add to the red kettle pot by forwarding on Elliott’s fine money.