You may remember all the way back in Week 3, Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams was fined $13,315.25 for his celebration against the Minnesota Vikings. After a 13-yard touchdown run that put the Lions up 24-14 in the third quarter, Williams gyrated his hips, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Naturally, the penalty drew a lot of comparisons to a comedy sketch on the show “Key and Peele” in which a football player tests the limits of a rule in which celebrations are only allowed two hip thrusts. It’s a great sketch and a perfect takedown of the absurdity that are celebration penalties in the NFL.
Actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key—the “Key” in “Key and Peele”—is a Detroit native and a big Detroit Lions fan, and he was on site for last week’s comeback victory over the Chicago Bears.
Perhaps as a tribute to Key or just a reference to his previous penalty, Williams did another “thrust” celebration, as he scored the game-winning touchdown with just over two minutes remaining. But instead of risking a penalty, Williams stopped before actually doing it—a move in which Key called the “almost pump” on Instagram.
Williams saw this post and responded, “I wanted to so bad it hurtled [sic].”
To which Key responded, “Truly sorry about the fine for the three pumps a few weeks back…@the_elle_key [Key’s wife] and I would like to make a donation to the charity of your choice to make up for it. Send me a DM. So great to see you at the game! Looking forward to the next one!”
It’s an awesome gesture from the comedian, and it actually results in a big score for charity. It’s a little known fact that NFL fines don’t go to the league, but rather to the NFL Foundation to help former players in need. It’s a nice way for charities to double up on what was an absurd penalty and an even more absurd fine.