Moss fined $10,000 by NFL for fake mooning celebration

Friday, January 14th 2005, 6:27 am
By: News On 6

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) _ Randy Moss showed no remorse for his latest misdeed, only a carefree smile.

Fined $10,000 Thursday by the NFL for pretending to pull down his pants and moon the Green Bay crowd during Minnesota's playoff win last weekend, Moss wasn't fazed.

``Ain't nothing but 10 grand. What's 10 grand to me?'' said Moss, whose salary this season is $5.75 million. He then jokingly suggested he might perform a more vulgar celebration next time.

Peter Hadhazy, the league's director of game operations, penalized Moss for unsportsmanlike conduct in a letter released by the NFL.

``Your actions were based on poor judgment, did not reflect well on you or the Vikings, and were insulting to many,'' Hadhazy wrote. ``They have resulted in widespread criticism and needlessly detracted from Minnesota's dramatic playoff victory. Fans should look to you and your teammates to see how to compete and win in football. But when you lose your focus on playing and engage in sideshows as you did on Sunday, you forfeit much of this.''

Moss also briefly bumped the goalpost with his backside before hugging teammates in the end zone following a fourth-quarter touchdown catch that clinched the Vikings' 31-17 victory over the Packers.

League rules mandate discipline for ``obscene gestures or other actions construed as being in poor taste.'' A fine for the first offense under those guidelines is $5,000.

The NFL said Moss was fined more than the minimum because this isn't the first time he has been disciplined for unsportsmanlike conduct. He paid a $25,000 penalty in 1999 for squirting an official with a water bottle.

Moss wasn't the only player fined Thursday. New York Jets linebacker Eric Barton was penalized $7,500 for hitting San Diego quarterback Drew Brees in the head during last weekend's playoff game.

Moss, whose 9,142 career yards receiving are the most by any player over his first seven seasons, has drawn more than his share of punishments and negative publicity.

The league fined him $5,000 for his role in a scuffle with the Chicago Bears during a September game, and he was charged the same amount in November 2003 for spiking a ball at the foot of Detroit Lions cornerback Dre' Bly.

In December 2002, he was fined $1,200 by a judge after being charged with bumping a traffic control officer with his car in downtown Minneapolis.

For verbally abusing corporate sponsors on the team bus following a loss in November 2001, Moss was fined $15,000 by the Vikings and required to receive anger management counseling.

And just last week, he was rebuked by teammates for leaving the field before the end of a loss to the Washington Redskins.

Moss' agent, Dante DiTrapano, said the fine was unnecessary and that he plans to appeal.

``If you can't have freedom of expression on the football field, come on,'' DiTrapano said.

DiTrapano argued that there was a story behind the dance Moss did in the end zone. The pantomimed pants-pulling was a response to Green Bay fans' tradition of mooning the visiting team's bus in the parking lot. And the rump bump against the goalpost, DiTrapano said, was a tribute to an old friend of Moss' who was at Lambeau Field for the game. Donnie Jones, who played at Dupont High School in West Virginia a few years before Moss did, used to celebrate like that after touchdowns.

``Like everything else, I think it's blown out of proportion,'' DiTrapano said. ``It's not fair, but we're used to it. It just rolls right off of us.''