Let me put his in some perspective. The NFL has always managed its image very closely. There are strict dress code regulations for the uniform and accoutriments. For example, in the 1980s, Chicago Bears QB Jim McMahon was forced to stop wearing headbands with various usually inoffensive statements on them. If you watch the Super Bowl, note that you will see very little in the way of personalization outside of a name on the back of the jersey and a number. Additionally note even the socks are all the same—rarely are they even down around the ankle and shirt tails are rarely untucked. The only variation you may see are in the shoes.
As for celebrations, the NFL stricty manages those too. Group celebrations other than hugging or some other “spontaneous” act of celebration is prohibited. For example, some here might recall the Funky Bunch, a group of Wahington Redskins backs and receivers from the 80’s, who would circle up and do a group high five after a TD.
There are some specifc gestures such as running one’s finger/thumb across one’s neck making a gesture for slitting one’s throat or taking off one’s helmet to celebrate a play that are banned. Th NFL has banned any celebration that involves a prop such as Terrell Owens pulling a Sharpie pen out of his sock to autograpgh the ball he just caught for a TD or Joe Horn pulling a cellphone out of the upright pads to make a fake phone call. The NFL will allow celebrations that appear to be fun loving and punish “hotdogging” (which includes excessive aggrandizement, excessive celebration or taunting) and obscenity. Obviously there is a standard that will vary somewhat according to the situation, but rarey could someone dropping to a kneor pointing up to the sky as excessive or taunting.
Pointing one’s middle finger at the sky could potentially be banned as obscene, what atheistic gesture could one make after scoring a TD?
Political and religous demonstrations can be regulated or banned by a pivate organization if it interferes with their business purpose. Walmart may not be able to hire/fire people based on their religious views and they may not be ableto fire someone for wearing a cross under thr uniform but they can prohibit a muslim from dropping his rug in the middle of sporting goods to pray to Mecca. They can also fire an athiest employee for shouting “there is no God” to the flat screen tv customers. The rules have to be reasonable to business purposes and evenly enforced.