While teens are known to act out when they are young, the actions of 14-year-old Tennessee native Brantley Hackston reach beyond average teenage rebellion. What’s more, Hackston has cited the on-field antics of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton as the direct cause of his recent delinquency.
Hackston, who formerly held a 3.8 GPA, was a member of the National Honor Society and was captain of his school’s debate team, is now being held on charges of arson, grand theft auto, assault, battery and public indecency. Each of these crimes, Hackston said in his statement to the police, is the result of witnessing Newton’s touchdown celebration dance.
Hackston’s crime spree began in the late hours of Sunday, Nov. 15, just a short time after witnessing Newton’s thuggish behavior during the Carolina Panthers’ 27-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans.
“I think it was the pelvic thrusts that really inspired my actions, more so than the chest puffs and arrogant struts,” Hackston said of the particular celebration dance in question. “Don’t get me wrong, I love a good arrogant strut, but to be a muse for a full-out crime spree takes some pretty intense celebrating.”
And intense celebrating, it was. Newton pulled out all the stops after he battled his way into the endzone to score the Panthers’ final touchdown of the game that extended his team’s undefeated record. After rising from the ground, he broke into what is commonly referred to as “the Dab,” which is a popular dance from Atlanta.
The celebration dance, in its entirety, lasted 17 seconds, which was 17 seconds too long for Rosemary Plorin, a Titans fan who took her daughter to the game that fateful Sunday. In response to Newton’s dab-stardly display, she penned a letter to Newton that was published in The Charlotte Observer deploring Newton’s dance as inspiring “egoism and arrogance.”
“She could not have been more correct,” said Hackston when asked about Plorin’s claims. “Some say there’s no way that one touchdown celebration could have a negative effect on young people, but here I am, behind bars because Newton just had to dance.”
For years, it has been proven that athletes have a troubling influence on young people. For example, when Tiger Woods debuted his signature fist pump after a pivotal putt, 869 young people between the ages of 10 and 16 immediately decided that they would start committing crimes.
In all of this turmoil, a bright light emerged in the form of Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. The budding star is known for his sneaky athleticism, scrappy play, high football IQ, gutty performances, sportsmanship and presence as an unselfish team player.
Though Kelce shows passion on the field, his quiet athleticism shines through his understated efforts in the game. If anything, his celebrations, even if they may seem excessive, will have a positive effect on the youth of America.
On Nov. 29, Kelce celebrated with such sportsmanship that Hackston decided to turn away from the life of crime sparked by Newton’s egotistical and arrogant display.
“There’s just something about Kelce that I really can see in myself that I don’t see when I look at Newton,” Hackston said. “I don’t know what exactly it is, but I feel like I’m looking in the mirror when I look at [Kelce]. Now that I know the correct way to get excited about something, I can release my angsty, teenage emotions in a much more positive way.”
In an effort to follow in the gritty Kelce’s footsteps, Newton has found support despite the obvious detrimental effects his actions have had on youths.
Canadian music group Men Without Hats spoke out in defense of Newton via its 1982 hit “The Safety Dance,” saying that Plorin is no friend of theirs. Here’s the group’s official statement to the press:
“Ah [Cam], we can dance if we want to, we can leave your friends behind. ‘Cause your friends don’t dance, and if they don’t dance, well they’re no friends of mine.”
There’s strong opposition fighting, and there are compelling arguments on both sides.
“Though I have never watched the entirety of an NFL football game and have little to no experience with sports in general, I know a bad influence when I see one,” said Kim Novak, a mother and PTA president from a suburb outside of Nashville. “I saw [the video] on Facebook, and I just don’t see how people can watch players like, um, Cam, um, Can Newforn or whatever, and not see that they are having a bad influence on our children. There’s just something about him, you know?”
As Kevin Bacon so eloquently explained in the film Footloose, dancing is an essential part of human life: “It’s the way it was in the beginning. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s the way it should be now.”
Except, of course, when Newton does it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column is a satire of recent discussions regarding NFL touchdown celebrations and the race of the players dancing. The only factual parts of the story are that both Newton’s and Kelce’s touchdown dances occurred, and Plorin’s letter admonishing Newton’s dancing was published in The Charlotte Observer. The picture below was drawn by Madeline Kenney.