As if the NFL didn’t have enough of a PR problem when it comes to justifying that their athletes can serve as role models for our children, they’re going to have a hell of a time explaining the truth behind the popularity of the new dance craze sweeping the league.  It’s called “dabbing,” a celebration move unveiled by Carolina Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton.

It’s such a popular move now that he’s got everybody from the elderly to kids all the way in South Korea doing it.

It must be just a harmless little gesture, right?  Something similar to his classic Superman pose.  Unfortunately no.  (credit random 670theScore caller) As it turns out, the literal meaning of dabbing is as follows according to Urban Dictionary.

“To press a piece of cannabis extract known as Butane Hash Oil against a heated surface of an oil rig pipe and inhale the smoke. These extracts have up to 90% THC levels. It is the newest growing trend for cannabis connoisseurs and Colorado currently has the largest following to date.”

In other words “dabbing” is a celebration based on smoking marijuana.  Seriously?  Listen, I realize the drug is on the fast track to becoming legal in this country at some point but we have to remember that Newton has gone out of his way to give a football to children every time he scores a touchdown.  This endears him to them and as a result they view him as a hero they wish to be someday.

It is insanely hypocritical of him to build the most successful season of his career, the one that people will remember for decades, around a dance celebration that glorifies a special way to take drugs.  Defenders of him will say that every test conducted on weed says it’s even more harmless a substance than cigarettes.

That may be so but it doesn’t automatically make it okay.  Taking drugs is never a healthy thing for people, at least from a recreational sense.  Nobody “dabs” for medical reasons.  It’s just a more creative way to get extra high and it’s a terrible example to set.  A commenter on the radio once said imagine if Peyton Manning, arguably the most revered quarterback of entire generation, suddenly brought out a celebration that turned out to be a creative way to sniff cocaine.

How disgusted and offended would people be then?

Cam Newton is a great football player and should be an example for what happens when you work hard enough and trust in your own ability.  Good things will happen.  However, he should also be a cautionary tale about understanding that once you’re put in front of the cameras, every choice you make has an effect on those who look up to you.  “Dabbing” may be considered harmless fun, but it shouldn’t be.  It sends a bad message about how low our standards have fallen in terms of who our role models are.

Brainwashed by the sports culture as a wee lad, Erik was educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College. He has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.