Josh Norman’s next challenge to the NFL involves imaginary beer

Has the NFL’s recent crackdown on excessive-celebration penalties persuaded Josh Norman to mute his on-field happiness? Nah. Nope. Not at all. Instead, it seems to have fired up Norman’s creative energy.

The Redskins cornerback — penalized and fined for pretending to shoot a bow and arrow earlier this season — told USA Today this week that he already has his next celebration planned. And it involves one of the treasured sponsors of our weekly dose of pigskin. That’s right: beer.

“Since they sell beer on TV while kids are watching it, I’m thinking I might open a keg on the field, and I’m going to drink it on the field,” Norman said on Thursday afternoon after his regular session with the local media crew. “And I don’t see that being [against] the rule book.”

As with many things Norman says, it wasn’t totally clear if he was being serious. A quick scan of the rulebook, though, indicates that he might be in the clear. The rules prohibit acts “committed directly at an opponent,” such as military salutes, verbal taunting and incredible hulking, but you wouldn’t tap a keg toward an opponent. The rules prohibit specific acts like throat thrashes, sexually suggestive gestures, logo stomps and machine-gun salutes, but there’s nothing about pretending to drink a delicious cold beverage.

The rules prohibit using the football as a prop, but you don’t need a football to pretend to tap a keg. The rules prohibit two or more players “engaging in prolonged, excessive, premeditated or choreographed celebrations or demonstrations,” but there’s nothing wrong with drinking alone. I can personally vouch for that one.

Where Norman might get tripped up is the prohibition against “prolonged or excessive celebrations or demonstrations by an individual player,” although the rules specify that celebrations only become “prolonged” if they continue after an official’s warning.

What this means, of course, is that Norman will have to chug his imaginary beer, so as to avoid the appearance of prolongation. Good job, NFL. You’re now making your stars chug their fake beer. If he gets fake alcohol poisoning, this is on you.

A bigger problem, of course, is that it might be hard for the average fan to recognize this bit of pantomime from Norman, since tapping a keg is not as universal a gesture as shooting a bow and arrow, and no one goes to an NFL game thinking about charades.

“If they don’t, I’ll explain it afterwards,” Norman said. “Why can’t my celebration be legal?” he asked. “I mean, you’re selling [beer] on TV, so why can’t my celebration be legal?”

He has a point. And as it turns out, this is the second time Norman has brought up NFL beer sales in response to its crackdown on celebrations.

“I think we have a double standard as a league,” Norman said last week on 106.7 The Fan. “We say we want to be PG — or whatever television show we’re showing — but at the same time, we’re selling beer on TV shows when kids are watching. It’s kind of like, well, dang, if that’s the case and that’s good, why can’t we have fun within the game?

“I mean, it’s a barbaric sport,” Norman went on. “C’mon, man, let’s be realistic here. You want to have things the way you want it, but when it comes to us, we can’t have the things that we want. Like, it don’t even make any sense. It’s stupid to the point where who is running this ship, you know? And why are we allowing things to happen like that that shouldn’t be? That’s kind of how I feel.”

So I guess the question is which is a more PG action: drinking a brewski or firing a bow and arrow. I know which one I’d let my fourth-grader do. But I don’t want to say too much, lest the NFL find a way to actually penalize Norman’s fake keg tap.

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