New England Patriots wide receiver/punt returner Julian Edelman received a $5,512 fine from the NFL offices after he fired a football into the stands after an 84-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos last Sunday.
Per Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, "that is standard operating procedure for the NFL, which views throwing footballs into the crowd as a safety issue as it creates the potential for crowd control problems (e.g. fans fighting over a football, knocking into bystanders, diving over unsuspecting people, falling over railings etc.)."
While players can't heave a football into the stands in projectile-like fashion, they can hand a ball over to a fan after a touchdown. Edelman's actions fell under the header of "excessive celebration," but the fine seems more tailored towards keeping the stands in order during obviously emotional game-changing moments.
Edelman's intent was obviously not to harm anyone or incite anything with his emotional outburst. However, the NFL is attempting to keep a cap on such celebrations in order to ensure that fan safety is secure.
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