RICHMOND, Virginia — Washington Redskins corner Josh Norman said the NFL’s rule prohibiting imaginary bow-and-arrow celebrations targeted one person: himself. He said he isn’t sure why the NFL condones other violent images but prevents him from performing his celebratory act.
NFL official Carl Johnson visited the Redskins camp Sunday and made clear that any form of imaginary weaponry celebrations are illegal, even as the league relaxed its rules on other acts after big plays or touchdowns. Johnson said it doesn’t matter if Norman’s favored ritual is performed on the field or on the sideline — if an official sees it, he’ll throw a flag.
Norman was penalized for shooting an imaginary bow-and-arrow after he intercepted a pass late in a win over Cleveland last season. He was later fined $10,000.
“You’re just picking on one person here,” Norman said. “[Brandin] Cooks has been doing it for years, and now all of a sudden you want to quit and stop it? Why is that?”
Cooks had performed the same celebration after each touchdown, dating to 2015, according to the Times-Picayune. Norman was the first to be fined.
“You can shoot a cannon in a stadium, or you can shoot a musket in a stadium a well,” Norman said, referring to celebrations in Tampa Bay and New England. “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?”
Norman said he’ll have to be creative and come up with a new celebration, but he isn’t quite ready to drop his annoyance at losing his old one.
“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.”