Last year, halftime of Cincinnati Bengals games were wild. The sideline entertainment is much different than what you are used to. This isn’t your grandpa’s pep rally. No human pyramids or spirit chants. Instead, there is a monkey dressed as a cowboy. Riding a dog like it’s a horse. I’ll let that sink in for a minute. And yes, the monkey has a little hat on. The lead monkey, Whiplash, leads a monkey team, all mounted on dogs, as they heard sheep off the field. They bounce around and look like tiny, hairy wranglers. This is the new trend sweeping the NFL. Giddyup.
First, let’s just say that this is plain bonkers. Whose idea was this? Who first approved it? What was that meeting like? I almost don’t know what to think about it. You can see some video HERE. Initially, I felt bad for the animal performers but both the monkeys and the dogs look like they are having a great time. And the Bengals had to vet this act right? They certainly promoted it. This is from their twitter account:
You may have seen a monkey on a dog, herding sheep. But have you seen “Monkey-Cam”?
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) November 19, 2015
Plus they strap a GoPro camera on the saddle. It’s about time that we start thinking outside-the-box for our mid game entertainment. Who knew the answer was something pulled from the Roman Coliseum. You can almost hear the Emperor demand “make that beast ride that other beast!”
Once I made that Emperor joke, I realized that there is no way the monkey wants to ride that dog. No way. Then I did a little more research and found some arguments claiming that this a cruel practice. Where does that leave us? I really want to like the Whiplash show. I wrote an entire praise article until I dug a little deeper and found more than a few places bashing this spectacle as animal abuse. That’s a hard bell to unring.
The border collie isn’t really designed to shoulder a hold. Plus, the capuchin monkey (like the one Ross had on Friends) is locked into the saddle and is tossed back and forth as the dog runs around. This bouncing motion could really injure the little dude. The city of Cincinnati has some strange obsession with hurting monkeys and gorillas. #Harambe #NeverForget
The act is technically legal but I feel bad for anything strapped to another thing all in the name of a cheap laugh. I want to applaud the comic idea that is trying to be achieved but this needs to stop now. Circus type shows often mean terrible lives for the animals. No animal deserves that. Bring back the nearly unpaid cheerleaders, at least they volunteer for the job. Also, one team should step up and pay the cheerleaders real money. And all things being equal, let some dudes on the cheer squad.
In the NFL, we see players sacrifice their bodies in the name of football. They are compensated for those risks with competitive salaries. But these animal performers have no choice. Let’s retire all these barbaric gimmicks. And if Whiplash the monkey needs a home, my door is always open.