League spokesman points to 'poor taste' rule
NEW YORK -- Randy Moss is almost sure to be fined for pretending to moon fans in Green Bay during a playoff win, according to NFL rules.
|“||It's not the kind of thing you want to see on national TV, but I understand what it was all about. ... The fans in Green Bay have a tradition in the parking lot after the game where they moon the visiting team's bus. ”|
|— Colts coach Tony Dungy|
The league is looking into the star receiver's antics in the Minnesota Vikings' 31-17 win over the Packers on Sunday and will announce its ruling later this week.
When asked for a reaction to the touchdown celebration Sunday night, an NFL spokesman told ESPN's Chris Mortensen: "Randy Moss can expect to be hearing from us."
When asked by AP whether the oft-fined Moss would be penalized again, a league spokesman recited NFL rules mandating discipline for "obscene gestures or other actions construed as being in poor taste."
In the last year, the NFL has dealt with a couple of highly publicized situations that many fans found objectionable. There was the Janet Jackson breast-baring episode during the halftime show of the Super Bowl in February and the steamy "Monday Night Football" introduction this season featuring Philadelphia receiver Terrell Owens and "Desperate Housewives" star Nicollette Sheridan.
On Sunday, Moss caught a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and headed toward the goalpost. He then turned his back to the Lambeau Field crowd, bent over and pantomimed pulling down his pants.
"Just having a little fun with the boys," Moss told a Fox reporter as he left the field. "I hope I don't get in trouble by it, but if I do I'll take the heat."
Moss, making $5 million this season, declined comment Monday.
Vikings coach Mike Tice said he spoke Monday with NFL vice president Art Shell.
"The league has called me," Tice said. "I didn't see it until last night."
Tice added he always thought of Green Bay fans as having "a tremendous amount of class" but that he didn't think they acted that way Sunday.
Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy said he saw Moss' action and, "I thought it was kind of humorous."
"It's not the kind of thing you want to see on national TV, but I understand what it was all about," he said.
"Anyone who has played in the NFC Central knows what that's about. The fans in Green Bay have a tradition in the parking lot after the game where they moon the visiting team's bus," he said. "It's kind of a unique sendoff."
"I had seen it seven times because when I was with the Vikings, we lost to them seven times up there," he said.
Fox did not show a replay of Moss' display during the game.
"It was inappropriate to replay it in the context of the game," Fox spokesman Lou D'Ermilio said.
ESPN declined to show the replay Sunday because, "in the end, we decided a conservative approach, taking a breath rather than rushing to air, would be prudent," spokesman Josh Krulewitz said.
He added: "In hindsight, we could have shown it once the day it happened while being very mindful of not being gratuitous about it."
Krulewitz said replays were to be shown Monday "conservatively, based on the NFL's and the Vikings' reaction to it."
Last month, Denver quarterback Jake Plummer was fined $5,000 for an obscene gesture.
Moss was originally fined $40,000 in 1999 for squirting an official, but it was reduced to $25,000 on appeal.
Moss verbally abused corporate sponsors on the team bus in 2001. That resulted in the team fining him $15,000 and forcing him to attend anger management classes.
In December of 2002, he was fined $1,200 by a judge after being charged with bumping a traffic officer with his car in downtown Minneapolis.
And last week, he was chewed out by teammates for leaving the field before the end of a loss in Washington. Center Matt Birk, one of the Vikings' leaders, confronted him and quarterback Daunte Culpepper also was upset.
Moss, his hair poofed out in a giant Afro, had four receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's game.
After Moss' second score and resulting show, Birk just shook his head and smiled.
"That's Randy," he said. "You take the good with the bad."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press