NFL Cracks Down on Zebra Abuse
Commish ponders fine for Burress as league shows shorter fuse on public criticism
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2008 2:15 PM CDT
Back judge Kirk Dornan (6) holds back Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo (9) and Patrick Crayton (84) as referee Peter Morelli, right, makes a call, Oct. 12, 2008, in Glendale, Ariz.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The NFL has long been sensitive about criticism of its officials, but commissioner Roger Goodell is more often going after the wallets of players for ripping refs, particularly on the field during games, USA Today reports. Chicago’s Brian Urlacher was fined for such an incident last week, and Goodell could level one today against New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress.

The league has sent stern warnings to players to respect officials, but “some guys, apparently have not heeded the message,” said one executive. A blown call cost San Diego a victory in Week 2, and players seem to have taken increased license since, sometimes with profanity or vulgar language. “There’s no place in the game for that,” the executive said.