You see them in front of every supermarket at this time of year, volunteers ringing a bell and collecting money for the Salvation Army.
In the name of Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott, football fans everywhere should reach into their pockets and drop some spare change — or more — into those holiday donation pots this week.
Because this is the NFL, of course, Elliott was slapped with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct (celebration) penalty for climbing into an oversized Salvation Army red kettle after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter of Dallas’ 26-20 win Sunday night against Tampa Bay.
Elliott regretted the move only to the extent that head coach Jason Garrett and special-teams coach Rich Bisaccia were displeased with the yardage assessment on the ensuing kickoff.
But the rookie out of Ohio State and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones both had the sense to note their giving spirit — while scoring some added publicity for the charity — in their post-game remarks.
“I’m going to match whatever they fine me and donate it to the Salvation Army,” Elliott said of the NFL. “I mean it’s just sitting there right in the end zone, you know? It’s the perfect celebration.
“They’re one of our biggest partners, so I had to show them a little bit of love.”
The NFL is doing the right thing here and won’t fine Elliott, ESPN reported, but that won’t stop him from reaching into his pockets.
Elliott tweeted Monday morning, “Even though I will not be fined I still will be making a donation to the @SalvationArmyUs.”
Jones took Elliott’s offer a step further, saying: “I think the Salvation Army should give him the highest award. My dream would be for the NFL to really fine me a lot of money and I’ll take them to the Supreme Court and we’ll get the Salvation Army more attention than anybody can get them. So let’s go.”
And the NFL wonders why it has for years been referred to as the No Fun League, a time-tested moniker invoked after the game by Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant.
Elliott’s two-yard run moved him past Tony Dorsett for the franchise record for most rushing TDs (13) by a rookie in team history.
But about that celebration…
“I thought it was creative, but he shouldn’t have done it,” Garrett said. “You know that’s how the league is going to rule on those things.
“You have to understand what’s legal and what’s not legal. You can jump into the stands in Green Bay, but you can’t jump into a Salvation Army bucket in Dallas. You’ve got to be careful about snow angels, all of these different things that we do. So we have to be more mindful of that.”
As an aside, the incident prompted a terrific Twitter schooling on Sunday night by the Salvation Army’s social-media staff of ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
The worldwide Christian charity first tweeted that “Zeke made an important contribution for the @dallascowboys tonight. Can you contribute to the millions in need?”
They also added a link for donations.
After Rovell tweeted “Not subtle. Salvation Army using Elliott now to ask for your money,” the Salvation Army’s return salvo was perfect.
“@darrenrovell Our goal is to serve 58 million meals in the U.S. this year. No time to be subtle.”
OUTTA BOTTE EXPERIENCE
— Sheldon Richardson continues to make headlines for anything but his play on the field, as the Jets spiral to the end of another season down the drain.
The former Pro Bowl defensive lineman’s profanity-laced Snapchat video posted to teammate Rontez Miles’ account before Saturday’s blowout loss to Miami — littered with four curses/derogatory terms in under 10 seconds — is just the latest misstep for the team’s 2013 first-round pick and that season’s NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.
As if Jets coach Todd Bowles doesn’t have enough on his plate with this tire fire, he had to address the issue on Sunday, calling it “unacceptable,” “not something we condone or encourage” and “disturbing that it was said at all.”
Another fine is likely for Richardson, who was suspended four games for testing positive for marijuana in 2015 and banned for the ’16 season opener following his arrest last year outside St. Louis for allegedly driving 143 mph with a registered gun and a 12-year-old child in the car. He also was benched for a quarter against Miami in November for being late to a team meeting.
Is enough enough now?
Richardson has registered just 1.5 sacks through Week 15 and is due to earn $8 million next year if the Jets are unable to move him.
— Skip Bayless apparently forgot to switch user names before he or someone using his account posted praise of himself and his new TV show on a Facebook live chat.
Can’t believe that hasn’t happened to the President-elect yet on Twitter.
— Phil Jackson gets full marks for drafting Kristaps Porzingis, a budding superstar, and taking a flyer on Derrick Rose.
But the Joakim Noah contract also is on his record, and it’s presently not looking like a shrewd investment.
— The East-leading Rangers and the last-place Isles are already separated by 19 points in the standings.
Sing it with me, those still going to Barclays Center:
“Snow. Sleeps. Till Brooklyn!”
—Was asked on Twitter if Odell Beckham Jr. “is as good on offense as (Lawrence Taylor) was on defense?”
Replied: “No, LT completely revolutionized the sport.”
But the fact that the question is even posed tells you how crazy good OBJ already has shown he is and can be.
— Excellent takeout piece in Sunday’s Daily News by the estimable C-Red on the 20th anniversary of “Jerry Maguire.”
Fun stuff from Jay Mohr, Jerry O’Connell, Katarina Witt and Jonathan Lipnicki, the kid who taught us all how much the human head weighs.
One of my favorite ’90s movies, these are my Top-5 scenes from “Jerry Maguire.”
5. THE HUG
“Why don’t we have that kind of relationship?”
4. I’M NOT GONNA CRY, ROY
“Hi Jerry, good to see ya, loved your memo.”
3. SHOW ME THE MONEY
“It’s a very personal and very important thing. Hell, it’s a family motto.’
2. JESUS OF COPYMAT
(Jerry Cantrell from Alice in Chains!)
“That’s how you become great, man. Hang your balls out there.”
1. HELP ME HELP YOU
“You are hanging on by a very thin thread, and I dig that about you!”