Technically he was a repeat offender, but the fine the NFL levied on Lions running back Jamaal Williams for his Week 18 touchdown celebrations is still absolutely ridiculous.
In Week 18 against his former team, Lions running back Jamaal Williams scored twice to set the new franchise record for rushing touchdowns in a season. He celebrated in a brash way that he’s prone to doing, and he was actually flagged and fined for doing back in Week 3.
Watching after his touchdowns against the Packers, it was natural to pay attention to the number of hip thrusts Williams did. The NFL has drawn line for what’s allowed there, however stupidly, before you might draw an unsportsmanlike conduct flag for even get fined several days after.
On Saturday, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Williams was fined $18,566 for his touchdown dances in Week 18. It’s clear the league levied a repeat offender tax, since his Week 3 fine was $13,261.
Even Pelissero, a league-employed reporter, couldn’t avoid leaning into the ridiculous of the fine. It’s also worth noting Williams was not flagged either time.
NFL gives Jamaal Williams a ridiculous fine for touchdown celebrations
In other news about fines related to the Lions-Packers game…
So Williams was fined over $5,000 more for his touchdown dance(s) than Packers linebacker Quay Walker was for shoving a member of the Lions training staff. Who, by the way, was trying to get to running back D’Andre Swift after he took an unflagged forearm shiver to the head from Packers defensive lineman Jarran Reed. Walker was rightfully ejected for that act, but the NFL’s fine system continues to make no sense.
Back in Week 1, Lions safety Tracy Walker was fined $11,000 for a dangerous hit on Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and throwing a punch at Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert. He was ejected for his actions, and his fine came in over $2,000 less than Williams touchdown dance fine was two weeks later.
So if you shove a member of the opposing training staff who’s trying to tend to an injured player, or if you put a dangerous hit on an opposing player and throw a punch, you’ll be ejected then fined–which works in a vacuum.
But that fine, with fresh and growing precedent, will be less than it’ll be if you gyrate your hips (like a cheerleader might to celebrate a touchdown) during a touchdown dance. In a Williams vs. Quay Walker comparison, the Packers’ rookie linebacker was also a repeat offender after doing something similarly stupid in Week 8.
Some things the NFL does stretch common sense. A reassessment of the fine amounts levied to players for things of various levels of seriousness, is in order. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for it to come soon.