Adams apologizes for obscene gestures

Updated: November 16, 2009, 4:35 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams apologized Monday for making an obscene hand gesture while celebrating his team's 41-17 win over Buffalo.

The 86-year-old Adams was seen throwing an emphatic series of middle fingers from a luxury suite at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., after the Titans (3-6) had secured the blowout over the Buffalo Bills (3-6), which included 24 straight points in the fourth quarter.

[+] EnlargeBud Adams
AP Photo/Wade PayneTitans owner Bud Adams, 86, rides off the field Sunday in Nashville after a 41-17 win over the Bills.

Adams apologized in a statement, saying: "I need to apologize for my actions yesterday near the end of the game. I got caught up in the excitement of a great day, but I do realize that those types of things shouldn't happen. I need to specifically apologize to the Bills, their fans, our fans and the NFL.

"I obviously have a great deal of respect for [Bills owner] Ralph Wilson and the history we have shared. I also understand there will probably be league discipline for my actions and I will accept those."

Earlier Monday, The Associated Press reported the NFL was looking into the hand gestures.

Adams and Wilson are original owners from the American Football League, and Sunday's game was a legacy game with both teams wearing throwback uniforms. Wilson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, and their teams share a history of emotional playoff games, including the Music City Miracle in January 2000.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was at the game Sunday after having breakfast with Adams. The league said Monday that Goodell left Adams' suite at the end of the third quarter and spent the fourth quarter sitting with fans in the end zone before leaving the stadium.

Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan, whose fellow defensive backs Vincent Fuller and Roderick Hood scored the last two touchdowns with interception returns in the final three minutes, said he was all for it if Adams was enjoying himself.

"I don't know if he did it, but I condone fun things," Finnegan said, according to The Tennessean. "If he was having fun doing it, then by all means, do what you do."

Adams can be seen in a YouTube video flashing the hook 'em sign of the Texas Longhorns, whom Titans quarterback Vince Young played for, before extending each hand with the middle finger individually, then together, after pointing toward the Bills' sideline.

The Tennessean reported Adams was seen making the gesture again on the field after the game.

Titans linebacker Stephen Tulloch said Adams' presence was an encouraging sign.

"He is a cool owner and it is good to see him around here supporting us," Tulloch said, according to the Nashville newspaper. "To have an owner like that, it's cool."

Players have been fined by the NFL for making such a gesture. San Francisco kicker Joe Nedney was fined $7,500 in October 2007, and Michael Vick was fined $10,000 and donated $10,000 to charity in 2006 while playing in Atlanta.

"The league holds us as players to a higher standard, so to have an owner flip the bird not once but twice the league has to hold him to the same standard if not more," Bills safety George Wilson said Monday. "He's at the top of the heirarchy. If you don't hold him accountable, then you're questioning the integrity of the system."

Buffalo defensive tackle Marcus Stroud saw footage of Adams on TV but didn't care.

"He owns that team and Mr. Wilson owns our team," Stroud said. "That's about the gist of it, as far as it goes with me. It's not like he can come down and strap up and put on any pads or anything like that. It doesn't bother me. If that's what he wants to do, go for it."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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