Packers' Hawk fined $10K for middle-finger "joke"

A.J. Hawk's "joke" cost him $10,000. Fox

A.J. Hawk's "joke" cost him $10,000.
FOX

Virtually every week, the NFL reviews game film and doles out fines for hits it deems illegal or excessive.

On Friday, two hard-hitting Packer linebackers racked up $15,000 in penalties - but it wasn't for controversial tackles.

A.J. Hawk was fined $10,000 for a middle-finger salute (to his own teammates) and Clay Matthews was fined $5,000 for wearing yellow shoes.

Only in the NFL.

Hawk made the obscene hand gesture toward the Packers sideline after sacking Rams quarterback Sam Bradford in the second quarter. An apologetic Hawk called it a "running joke" with some of his teammates and said it "wasn't meant to get out there, for people to see." The gesture made it on television, and screen shots were almost immediately circulated on social media websites such as Twitter.

"It was a joke, and I kind of got caught up in the emotion of the game," Hawk said. "I definitely apologize if any kids or anyone else saw it. I have a daughter myself, so I wouldn't want her doing that. I got excited and I got caught up in the game. It was just, I guess, a bad joke. I definitely won't do it again."

Meanwhile, Matthews was flagged for wearing bright yellow shoes against the Rams.

According to the Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "The Packers wore their 1929 throwback jerseys that feature navy blue tops, brown helmets and tan pants. The shoes that come with the gear are dark brown. Some players wore white shoes, but used black tape over them so that they were dark and didn't stand out. Matthews, however, wore bright yellow shoes, which the NFL deemed as inappropriate and a violation of the league's dress code."

So a middle finger is worth ten grand and yellow shoes will cost you 5,000 bucks? Hmm. It's probably worth noting that neither Lions coach Jim Schwartz nor 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh were fined for their post-game scrum last Sunday - an incident which sparked far more condemnation than the Packers' transgressions.

CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson puts the Green bay fines in perfect context: "Last season, Matthews was fined $5,000 for roughing up Bears quarterback Jay Cutler," Wilson writes. "So in the NFL's eyes, Cutler's worth a pair of canary yellow shoes, and half as much as one of Hawk's fingers?"

We can only hope this bizarre mathematical precedent is tested when some day a linebacker roughs up a quarterback while simultaneously wearing yellow shoes and flipping the bird to his teammates.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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