The NFL has made it clear that the bow-and-arrow celebration Josh Norman used last year will still result in a penalty under the new, relaxed league guidelines on celebrations.
The reason for this, according to the NFL, is that it is a violent gesture pantomiming a weapon.
Per NFL referee Carl Johnson, Josh Norman’s bow and arrow celebration will not be a legal celebrations; it is considered a pantomimed weapon
— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) August 6, 2017
Norman isn’t happy about this. Not one bit. In fact, he feels the NFL is targeting him personally.
“You’re just picking on one person here,” Norman said, per John Keim of ESPN. “[Brandin] Cooks has been doing it for years, and now all of a sudden you want to quit and stop it? Why is that?”
To Norman’s point, Cooks has been doing that after every touchdown he scored since 2015, per according to the Times-Picayune, via ESPN. Yet last year marked the first time the NFL penalized a player for celebrating in that way, when Norman was fined $10,000.
Norman also elaborated on what he feels is a double standard being applied to him. He sees that, around the league there are other, similar things happening without consequence.
“You can shoot a cannon in a stadium, or you can shoot a musket in a stadium a well,” Norman said. “If one of them is bad and looked at as dangerous, how come not all of them are looked at in that way? … When someone shoots an imaginary bow and arrow up in the sky, that’s a penalty?”
And Norman wasn’t done, either.
“It’s not like you’re shooting at somebody,” he said. “You’re shooting up. It gets the crowd excited, something to where everyone’s getting pumped up, so why take that away? What for?
“You don’t come back to the locker room and come get a bow-and-arrow and shoot somebody. Like, come on, man, let’s have fun. Let us do something to where we feel excited. We’re not out here shooting someone with a gun. I can understand that. It’s shooting a bow-and-arrow.
“An imaginary bow-and-arrow. Why is that violence? You saying the people that came before us were violent? That’s how I see it.”
It’s easy to understand why a professional sports league would shut down any type of celebration that somehow might glorify weapons.
It’s also easy to see where Norman is coming from. If he isn’t allowed to pretend he’s shooting an arrow into the sky, then why can other teams feature cannons and muskets when they score?
We’ll be looking out for a response from the league, though we’re not holding our breath waiting for it, either.