The sports world is abuzz Monday (Nov. 28) with talk of Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson‘s touchdown celebration, in which Johnson mimed shooting himself in the leg with a gun. Why is this controversial? Because he was mocking opposing player Plaxico Burress, of the New York Jets, who three years ago accidentally shot himself in the leg in a night club with a gun stuffed in his sweatpants. Burress subsequently spent 20 months in jail on an illegal weapons charge.
Was it tasteless? Funny? Creative? How about all of the above? But it was also pretty foolish. The NFL has been cracking down on excessive TD celebrations in recent years and this particular gunshot really shot the Bills in the foot. It handed them a 15-yard penalty and helped the Jets score the game-tying touchdown. The Jets would go on to win 28-24, keeping their playoff hopes alive.
In the post-game press conference, Johnson expressed his regret over the celebration, saying, “t hurt our team. It was very stupid of me going through that, and I feel
like I cost our team by doing that. It was a bad
decision. It’s irrelevant whether or not I rehearsed it or not. At the
end of the day, it cost our team seven points.
I have to apologize to everyone and talk to Coach. I can’t be doing that. I need to be mature about the situation.”
Meanwhile, Burress, the subject of the mockery, would not rise to the bait in his post-game comments. He says, “I don’t have any reaction to it. I’m a big fan of [Johnson]. He’s a great, young talent, and I love to watch him play. That doesn’t
bother me at all … It doesn’t bother me. I’m just trying to win the football game. That’s what it’s about, the last man standing.”