When Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas recovered a fumble and ran it back for a 34-yard touchdown recently against New Orleans Saints, to say that his emotions got the best of him was an understatement. Earl was so giddy and full of joy that the first thing he did after scoring was, hug the nearest referee. The official who was the recipient of Thomas’ affection, Alex Kemp, was probably as shocked as any human could be when Thomas approached him. After all, most of each game is spent hearing players, coaches and fans yelling at them for numerous issues they disagree with. Who would have thought an official would be getting a bear hug in the middle of a game?
Only one small problem, Earl. Physical contact with an official is a no-no.
At least Kemp seemed to show his appreciation for said affection – tossing the flag with a smile on his face. We’re willing to bet that was the hardest (and weirdest) penalty he ever had to call.
So the lesson of the day for all sports officials – be prepared for the most unusual events to take place during your game. You never know how will people will behave during a contest (even if it’s something that makes you smile).