This Might Be the Weirdest NFL Penalty of the Year

Seahawks' Earl Thomas penalized for hugging referee
By Daniel Kay,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2016 3:20 PM CDT
An NFL penalty flag lying on the turf.   (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
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(Newser) – Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks did his team a huge favor Sunday when he recovered a New Orleans Saints fumble and returned it for a touchdown. In his jubilation after the play, Sports Illustrated reports, Thomas ran over and hugged side judge Alex Kemp. (See the video here.) Kemp threw a flag immediately, calling Thomas for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that was assessed on the kickoff. Dan Hanzus at NFL.com speculates Thomas may have been the latest victim of an NFL crackdown on on-field celebration, but it's also possible he may have simply invaded this referee's personal space. (Read more NFL stories.)

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