Put dance on others' feet, it isn't so funny anymore

January 17, 2007|By PETER SCHMUCK

Maybe you can sympathize with NFL Most Valuable Player LaDainian Tomlinson. He watched his great season end prematurely Sunday and then had to watch a bunch of childish New England Patriots players mock teammate Shawne Merriman at midfield after the game.

That kind of thing has to hurt, but the Chargers are a little late to the party if they just now have come to the conclusion that it's bush league for NFL players to engage in crudely choreographed celebration. And the notion that Merriman's trademark sack dance somehow falls within the boundaries of football etiquette while a post-game spoof of it does not is almost as silly as the sack dance itself.

There is a precedent for all this, as any good Ravens fan knows. Remember in 2004, when Terrell Owens spoofed the Ray Lewis pre-game dance after he scored a touchdown against the Ravens in Philadelphia? There was some muttering about that at the time, but I recall Deion Sanders putting the whole situation in pretty good perspective when I asked him about it after the game.

"If you don't want the guy to dance in the end zone," Sanders said, "don't let him get in there."

There is a `me' in team

This is the just the sports world we live in. Taunting and excessive celebration still will get you a 15-yard penalty in the NFL and college football, but it's no longer considered such bad form that the players who do it face any real ostracism. Quite the contrary, Owens has made it into a cottage industry.

Sacramento Bee columnist Mark Kreidler summed it up better than I can in a column for ESPN.com on Monday:

The culture of Me-dom has certainly always had a place even in a team setting, but you have to think that Ickey Woods might not have imagined that his Shuffle would beget such a generation of narcissists and self-lovers - that something basically conceived for fun would become the national turnoff that it is becoming.

Strange dichotomy

In the same six-day period, Mark McGwire was thoroughly rebuked by Hall of Fame voters for the mere suspicion that he may have used performance-enhancing drugs during his great career, while the main focus on Merriman, the Pro Bowl linebacker and proven steroid cheat, was whether he got the proper respect from the Patriots after Sunday's playoff loss.

I normally don't believe in a double standard, unless it benefits me.

Back to the future

It looks like Sammy Sosa may sign a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers, the team that originally signed him as a 16-year-old in the Dominican Republic.

Sosa worked out for the team on Monday in Arlington, Texas, and dined with general manager Jon Daniels afterward. He announced in December that he intended to resume his career after a one-year hiatus, even though he didn't appear to have much left during his 2005 season with the Orioles. Presumably, he would go to training camp to compete for the right-handed share of a designated hitter platoon.

Can't blame him for trying. He needs 12 home runs to become the fifth major league player to reach 600, a milestone that might separate him from McGwire in the minds of steroid-averse Hall of Fame voters.

Olympic hurdle

One of the big challenges facing Olympic organizers in Beijing: There are not enough presentable public restrooms for the huge expected influx of foreign visitors for the 2008 Games.

My take: Other than that, communism works just fine.

FanFest fate

Orioles FanFest is not dead.

The Orioles likely will announce plans this week for a preseason fan event to replace the one that was postponed out of deference to the Ravens' playoff run.

The traditional FanFest was scheduled for last Sunday at the Baltimore Convention Center until it became apparent that the Ravens would host a home playoff game sometime the same weekend. The Convention Center isn't available during the next month, so a scaled-down FanFest likely will be held elsewhere, perhaps in the ballpark.

Headline hilarity

This week's funny headline comes from SportsPickle.com, the Maryland-based sports humor and satire site on the Web: "Nick Saban said to be interested in Miami Dolphins job."

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com.

The Peter Schmuck Show airs on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on Saturdays.

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