Earl Thomas Picked Up An Unsportsmanlike Conduct Penalty For Hugging A Referee

Associate Editor

Earl Thomas scored a big touchdown for the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon. Someone stripped Saints running back Mark Ingram, the ball flew into Thomas’ hands, and Thomas proceeded to sprint towards the end zone to give Seattle a 7-0 lead. It showed off impressive awareness by Thomas, and he motored past a bunch of New Orleans offensive linemen en route to a touchdown.

Thomas wanted to celebrate his big play by hugging someone. However, he didn’t want to hug, say, a coach or a teammate or even a group of Seattle fans. Instead, Thomas went up to an official and gave him a big ol’ bear hug. Seriously, he got into this, as he wrapped the ref up and tried getting him to jump up and down.

This didn’t sit too well with the ref, who immediately grabbed his flag after Thomas let go and gave him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Sure, contact with officials is usually really bad and we understand why this is going to be penalized, but still, all Thomas wanted to do was give the ref a well-intentioned hug. If giving people hugs is unsportsmanlike, then well, we should revisit the definition of “unsportsmanlike.”

No Fun League? More like No Hugs League.

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