Horn Fined $30,000 for Cell-Phone Call

ByABC News via logo
December 17, 2003, 3:43 PM

N E W   O R L E A N S -- New Orleans Saints receiver Joe Horn has been fined $30,000 by the NFL for making a choreographed cell-phone call in the end zone to celebrate a touchdown.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed the amount of the fine,which was issued Tuesday. Horn's agent, Ralph Vitolo, said theplayer will appeal. "Fining him is one thing, but to me that's very excessive. Thisis not a murder case," Vitolo said. Return specialist Michael Lewis was fined $5,000 for helpingorchestrate the stunt, and Horn told Vitolo that he would pay thatfine. After catching the second of four touchdown passes in a 45-7victory over the New York Giants on Sunday, Horn was handed a phoneby Lewis, who pulled it out from under the padding used to protectthe goal post. Horn was still wearing his helmet when he punched innumbers, put the phone to the earhole and spoke into it for a fewseconds. "Would I take it back? No, no. I knew exactly what I wasdoing," Horn said after the game. Saints coach Jim Haslett called the player's action "selfish." "Do I think the fine is excessive? Yeah," Haslett said. "ButI don't like what he did because it hurt our football team. That'swhat bothers me." The Saints were penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conductfor the stunt. NFL officials had considered suspending Horn for two games, butSaints owner Tom Benson intervened on Horn's behalf, TheTimes-Picayune reported. If Horn had been suspended, he would haveforfeited about $82,000 of his $700,000 base salary and been out ofthe Saints' final two regular season games against Jacksonville andDallas. Horn was fined for unsportsmanlike conduct for the second timethis season and the seventh time since 2000, Aiello said. "I don't have a whole lot of empathy for Joe, to be honest withyou," said Saints general manager Mickey Loomis. "The league hasmade it clear that it won't tolerate that kind of behavior, and hewent ahead and did it anyway." After San Francisco's Terrell Owens pulled a pen out of his sockand autographed a football after scoring a touchdown in a game, NFLcommissioner Paul Tagliabue sent a memo to all teams warning thatsuch stunts would be punished.