Ezekiel Elliott donating to Salvation Army after #ZekeKettleLeap
The NFL has decided not to fine Ezekiel Elliott for his unique touchdown celebration (dubbed the #ZekeKettleLeap), but the Dallas Cowboys running back is sticking to the promise he made anyway.
Elliott tweeted Monday that he will donate $21,000 to the Salvation Army (he’s No. 21). He also encouraged others to donate, tweeting that “your $21 feeds a family for three days.” The tweet was topped off with “#ZekeKettleLeap.”
During Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Elliott celebrated a touchdown by hopping into a giant red Salvation Army kettle on the sidelines at AT&T Stadium. The refs flagged him for unsportsmanlike conduct. Elliott, expecting the NFL – which doesn’t allow such celebrations – to fine him, promised after the game to match any fine he got and donate that amount to the Salvation Army.
Well, the league decided fining Elliott for promoting a charity like the Salvation Army would reflect poorly on them and gave the Cowboy a pass. But Zeke stayed true to his word.
And he wasn’t the only one. Within 12 hours of the #ZekeKettleLeap, the Salvation Army saw a 61 percent increase in donations compared with the previous Sunday-night-Monday-morning time period. According to Apex Marketing Group, the advertising exposure the Salvation Army got with that touchdown celebration was worth at least $4 million. The organization pulled in $182,000 in online donations during those 12 hours.
“We don’t normally see spikes like that at random,” said Lt. Col. Ron Busroe, the Salvation Army’s national secretary for community relations and development. “As of today, he is our favorite Cowboy player.”
“Let’s give Zeke credit for that. It is certainly fun,” Jerry Jones, the Cowboys’ owner, said Monday. “We have those kettles there [at the end zones] because we do want the visibility of reminding everybody, certainly at this time of year, how doing the most good is putting a dollar in that red kettle. To have gotten that attention in front of probably 20 million or so people [Sunday] night for the Salvation Army was just wonderful.”
Not everyone happy Zeke wasn’t fined
The #ZekeKettleLeap ended up doing a lot more good than harm – honestly, did it do any harm at all? However, not everyone was happy the NFL decided to waive Elliott’s fine.
On Monday, New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell tweeted their surprise at the decision.
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant didn’t have a problem with the celebration, saying, “Why not let it be legal? We’re just having fun. Let’s not make it the No Fun League.”
When asked if he would do another #ZekeKettleLeap, Elliott said no, it was a one-time thing. He cited the 15-yard penalty the Cowboys received as well as the frustration of the coaches.
Still, there’s no denying it ended up for the best – and that $182,000+ is helping a lot of people this holiday season.