WASHINGTON — Redskins defensive end Chris Baker says it almost seems like the NFL is unfairly targeting teammate Josh Norman.
Norman, who already this season has been fined for unnecessary roughness and has at least twice been instructed to take post-game drug tests, drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for slinging an imaginary bow and arrow after intercepting Cody Kessler in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 31-20 win over the Browns.
Norman drew another random drug test afterwards.
The language describing unsportsmanlike conduct in the NFL rulebook is fairly all-encompassing. It includes such vague terminology as “the use of baiting or taunting acts or words that engender ill will between teams,” offering officials plenty of leeway to make snap-judgment calls in the heat of the moment. Basically, they can call a player for unsportsmanlike conduct pretty much whenever they see fit.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It almost seems like the NFL is targeting Josh and it’s just not fair. People do a lot more crazier things and don’t get a penalty thrown on them and he literally did the bow-and-arrow out of bounds on our sidelines. It wasn’t like he was showing up an opponent. It wasn’t like he was being disrespectful. If I’m not mistaken, he did the bow-and-arrow celebration on every incomplete pass against the Steelers and the Cowboys and never got a penalty, so I don’t know what the big deal was about it this weekend.”
Asked if such inconsistent officiating presents challenges, Baker said, “I’m not sure. I don’t know if it’s like completely difficult, but it’s just like the league has to do a better job at recognizing what’s a penalty for excessive celebration and what’s not.
“Time after time again, you see guys do a lot more than a bow and arrow to the crowd and don’t get a penalty. It’s kind of hard to understand, but you just got to go out there and play football and I guess just walk back to the huddle.”