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Moss's 'Fun' Might End In NFL Fine

By Leonard Shapiro
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 11, 2005; Page D06

GREEN BAY, Jan. 10 -- The NFL likely will not announce until later this week any disciplinary action against Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss for his touchdown celebration in his team's 31-17 first-round playoff victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

"It will be handled like any other situation during the season," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday. "It will be reviewed by Peter Hadhazy [the league's director of game operations], and we'll proceed from there."

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After his second touchdown reception, a 34-yard catch that clinched Minnesota's victory, Moss ran to the goal post, turned his back to the crowd and pretended to drop his pants and moon fans. Fox, the network that broadcast the game, did not show a replay during the game but aired a brief interview afterward with Moss saying he was "just having some fun" and "I hope I don't get in trouble by it, but if I do I'll take the heat."

NFL rules stipulate that players can be disciplined for "obscene gestures or other actions construed as being in poor taste," with a first offense drawing a $5,000 fine. Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer was fined that amount last month for an obscene gesture.

Although Moss has not previously been fined for such an action, he was fined $25,000 (reduced from $40,000 on appeal) in 1999 for squirting an official with a water bottle. Earlier that season, he had been fined $10,000 for verbally abusing an official. In 2001, he was fined $30,000 by the league for four taunting incidents. The Vikings fined him $15,000 in 2001 for verbally abusing corporate sponsors on the team bus and forced him to attend anger management classes. In 2002, he was fined $1,200 by a judge after being charged with bumping a traffic officer with his car.

While Moss had no comment Monday, Vikings Coach Mike Tice spoke briefly about the incident in his regular news conference and said he had spoken with NFL Vice President Art Shell. "The league has called me," Tice said. "I didn't see it until [Sunday] last night."

One possible explanation for Moss's act came from Indianapolis Coach Tony Dungy, who said that Packers fans often moon the visiting team's bus at Lambeau Field. In his Monday news conference, he said he found the incident funny for that reason.

Controversy has found its way into NFL telecasts over the last 12 months, with Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" in the Super Bowl halftime show and a "Monday Night Football" introduction this season featuring Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens and "Desperate Housewives" star Nicollette Sheridan.

Staff writer Mark Maske and news services contributed to this report.

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