“It’s just something that I do for my grandmother,” Cruz said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “It’s something that’s sacred to me, it’s something that’s due to her passing. Before she passed away, it was something dear to me.”
Because the dance is so sacred to Cruz, the second-year wideout wasn’t too thrilled when 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers imitated the dance after picking off an Eli Manning pass intended for Cruz during a game between New York and San Francisco last season.
“Why I do it is for [my grandmother] because she told me she loved it so much, and she taught me how to do it and all of that put together,” Cruz said. “Knowing that, it’s just a little slap in the face.”
Rogers — apparently before knowing the root of Cruz’s celebration — told reporters on Tuesday that he might bust out the celebration again when the two teams hook up on Sunday.
“I like the dance, actually,” Rogers said, according to The Sacramento Bee. “I really can’t do it as good as him, but if I make a play or get an interception on him in my mind, just do his dance.”
The story of Cruz’s grandmother has since been relayed to Rogers, and according to the San Jose Mercury-News, it definitely alters the cornerback’s view. Rogers reportedly never meant for his dance to be a sign of disrespect, though, as he instead thought it was a way to have fun.
When asked on Wednesday about Rogers potentially doing the dance during this Sunday’s clash in the Bay Area, Cruz reiterated his stance.
“I obviously won’t be OK with that,” Cruz said. “But it is what it is. He’s going to choose what he wants to do. I’m not going to try to retaliate or go crazy. That’s not me. But it obviously won’t sit well with me, as I’ve stated in the past.”
Cruz dominated Rogers in the teams’ NFC Championship matchup last season, catching 10 passes for 142 yards in the Giants’ win. We never saw the salsa dance in that game because Cruz never reached paydirt, but those numbers are worth trying to replicate on Sunday.
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