Even though it might ultimately cost the organization a draft pick, several Pittsburgh Steelers players participated in a post-game dance celebration in their locker room after the team defeated the Indianapolis Colts to clinch the AFC North title this year.
The issue with the celebration is the fact that players were not wearing masks in the locker room, which is required under the league’s Covid-19 protocols, and for which the New Orleans Saints were fined and stripped of a draft pick as punishment for their second violation.
This is also the Steelers’ second violation, so, unfortunately, there’s a very good chance they lose a seventh-round pick out of this. I know the Baltimore Ravens are going to be brought up, but the league has been consistent with their fines, and organizations for first violations have been fined $250,000 without losing a draft pick. Only teams who have had multiple violations so far have lost a draft pick. But moving on…
Tight end Eric Ebron explained to reporters yesterday why the dance celebration happened in the first place. “That was more of us showing that we got our teammate’s back”, he said, referencing wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster taking heavy criticism, particularly in recent weeks, due to his habit of doing some pre-game dancing on the center-field logo of wherever he plays.
“What JuJu was put through last week was piss poor by the media, because you can’t downplay someone that’s been doing something for so long, and we all know it was never in harm’s way”, he said. “It’s just who JuJu is, and if you know JuJu, you know his personality, so don’t try to criminalize his personality. Just accept JuJu for who he is. And I love him. I personally love him. He looks up to me and I look up to him, even though he’s younger than me”.
“And I look up to him because he takes so much from social media”, he continued. “For him to be able to take whatever comes with it every day, you’ve got to come in strong, and he is. We just had our teammate’s back. I completely messed up the dance—I’m not a TikToker—but I ride for my dawg JuJu, so I was all for the video and all for the excitement and for our younger team”.
The fact that this all took place maskless will unfortunately overshadow the positive intentions behind the celebration, which was of course in part to express their joy over accomplishing one of their goals, but also to serve as a symbol of their solidarity and brotherhood.
Both Ebron and Smith-Schuster got into the end zone for the Steelers in the second half in their remarkable comeback win, the latter scoring the go-ahead and eventual game-winning score. In doing so, he set a new career-high in receiving touchdowns in a single season. Unfortunately, more people want to talk about unimportant things rather than his play or his charitable work.