November 25, 2009
The league released a statement today clarifying that the veteran official did not intend to celebrate with Titans QB at the end of the team's 20-17 victory over the Houston Texans. Young had walked past Boger and gave him a high-five after kneeling down to preserve the victory. It was funny and spontaneous, the sort of feel-good moment that's becoming all too rare in an increasingly humorless NFL. And then the league had to go and ruin it by releasing this statement:
Said an NFL spokesman (via The Houston Chronicle):
"It was not Jerome Boger's intent to exchange a high-five with the player. It began with the referee making the proper administrative signal and resulted in the appearance of an inappropriate action.
"As Vince Young took a knee on the game's final play, Jerome Boger jogged in with his right arm in the air to signify the play was over. That is the proper administrative signal for the referee.
"As Young turned around, he saw Boger approaching the line of scrimmage with his arm raised. As Boger moved toward the line of scrimmage, he started to bring his arm down. However, before he lowered his arm, Young, moving towards the referee, raised his own arm and the two exchanged what appeared to be a quick high-five."
I'm not sure the Zapruder film was analyzed as much as this high-five apparently was. Did anybody really think Boger initiated the contact? And did we really need three paragraphs containing the phrases "appearance of an inappropriate action" and "proper administrative signal" to indicate that he didn't? (It's a good thing there isn't an administrative signal that makes a referee puff out his torso, lest any player try to come over and give a celebratory chest bump.)
The NFL is hyper-sensitive when it comes to the mere appearance of impropriety by refs (no matter how ridiculous), which is why you get $20,000 fines for obvious jokes and detailed statements clarifying intent of skin-slapping. The league needs to lighten up.
Frankly, the fact that Young and Boger high-fived makes it less likely that there's anything nefarious going on. I mean, Benedict Arnold wasn't going around giving dap to the British, you know?
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