“Personal foul, shooting a bow and arrow”

These are words I never imagined I’d hear from an NFL referee. But that was the call against Washington Redskins corner back Josh Norman yesterday.

Don’t get me wrong. Shooting a bow and arrow on a football field should, at a minimum, be a personal foul. Sure, the players have plenty of padding and protection, but not enough to guarantee their safety if shot by an arrow.

The problem is that Norman didn’t shoot an arrow. Rather, in celebration following a key interception, he gestured with his hands and arms as if using an imaginary bow to shoot an imaginary arrow.

Now, I dislike taunting and showboating as much as the next old fart. But Norman wasn’t taunting anyone. He made his gesture on or near the Redskins sideline. Yes, it was showy. But shouldn’t NFL players be allowed to have a little fun?

These guys play a tremendously difficult sport under a huge amount of pressure. Their mistakes (especially those of a cornerback like Norman) are there for all to see, dissect, and denounce.

Moreover, many of them will have little fun in their advanced years, given the effects of playing such a violent sport. So yes, they should be allowed to have innocent fun in celebration of their play.

The League might argue that Norman’s fun wasn’t innocent. As my 8th grade gym teacher, Mr. Hahn, cautioned us during archery class, the bow and arrow is a lethal weapon.

But honestly, is death by bow and arrow a problem in America? I don’t think so.

For me, the call “personal foul, shooting a bow and arrow” is as absurd as it sounded when made. The NFL should lighten up and revise whatever policy makes Norman’s behavior, and other such celebrations, a personal foul.

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