Lions’ Jamaal Williams Slams NFL Over Fines for Dancing Celebrations

Jamaal Williams

Getty Jamaal Williams celebrates a 2022 touchdown against the Eagles.

The Detroit Lions maintain one of the NFL’s best personalities in running back Jamaal Williams, and he shows that whenever he plays the game on the field and whenever he scores a touchdown.

Williams, though, continues to draw penalties and fines for some of his dance moves he showcases. Most recently, Williams was fined $18,566 for a celebration in Week 18, and as expected, he had a strong opinion on the matter.

Speaking with Amon-Ra St. Brown and Equanimeous St. Brown on The 33rd Team, Williams discussed his feelings about the fines and penalties. As he said, he believes the league is trying to take away his personality and joy when they crack down on his dancing.

“I get fined for this stuff, so yeah, honestly I just feel like they’re just trying to take my personality away, my joy. Because now I literally have to stop doing it. So now when I score, I’m literally just gonna sit down and pout like a little baby or something,” Williams said of his celebrations to the St. Brown brothers.

Williams’ frustration was palpable within the snippet from the video, and it’s clear he doesn’t want to be getting in trouble for such celebrations anymore. Notable from Williams was the commentary that he might choose to change his celebration processes to avoid being fined in the future.

Whether he changes his approach or not, it’s clear that Williams is beyond over being cracked down on for dancing after scoring touchdowns.

Williams Received Major Fine for Celebration

Why the strong reaction from Williams? The NFL hit his pocketbook in a major way for some recent celebrations in the 2022-23 season finale.

As NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero reported on January 14, 2023, Swift was fined $18,566 for the celebration on the field in Green Bay after Williams scored a touchdown against the Packers, moves that some may even call excessive sexiness.

“The NFL fined Lions RB Jamaal Williams $18,566 again for excessive sexiness – excuse me, unsportsmanlike conduct – as a result of his hip-swiveling TD dances in last Sunday night’s win over the Packers. No flags were thrown,” Pelissero tweeted.

The league continues to try and make an example of Williams for his dancing and hip thrusting even though celebration is allowed on the field. Clearly, these celebrations cross the line.

Back when rules were changed to relax celebration penalties, the league established some guidelines. As explained by Kevin Patra in an piece from 2017, the football can be used as a prop, the ground can be used for celebration and group demonstrations are alright. With that said, there are other rules.

“The relaxed rules aren’t a free for all. Offensive demonstrations, celebrations that are prolonged and delay the game, and celebrations directed at an opponent, will still be penalized, the letter said, in order continue “sportsmanship, clean competition, and setting good examples for young athletes.” In short, three-pump twerking is still a no-go,” Patra wrote in the piece at the time.

It’s obvious the league seems to think that Williams is still crossing their threshold within his celebrations, hence the fines. It’s something Williams can be likely to disagree with.

Williams Penalized for Earlier Celebration

If Williams feels like he is being targeted by the league, it’s only due to some consistent frustration with the league referees over this same issue.

Earlier in the year in Week 2, Williams was flagged for a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for such a display after a touchdown run in Minnesota.

Speaking after the game to the media, Williams discussed his reaction to the celebration penalty. As he said, he was surprised to draw the flag given he has gotten away with such celebrations in the past.

“I’m like, ‘did they just flag me for doing the dance that I’ve been doing literally forever?’ Before Key and Peele, before all the hip stuff, I’ve been doing this forever so now my stuff is correlated to (a penalty?) Nothing against them, you know, but that’s mine. My hips. It’s not even thrusting, it’s more like a wave. Mine is a wave, that’s why I should get away with it. I’ve been getting away with it all these years but now they want to bust me for it,” Williams said to the media.

Williams himself would go on to poke some fun at his dancing by posting a internet video perhaps clarifying where the moves come from.

“Just for the record I’m the best Smash Bros player on the team,” Williams commented on September 30, posting a Twitter gif of a character dancing similar to him.

Will Williams continue to push the limits in 2023? If he indeed decides to pout during his celebrations and tone it down, fans will be missing out on some entertainment. Stay tuned to see if that remains the case.

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