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Published: Thursday, 1/13/2005

Moon over Green Bay

PRO football star Randy Moss made as much news with his backside Sunday as he did with his two touchdowns in the Minnesota Vikings' playoff victory over the Green Bay Packers.

Moss earned the contempt of Packer fans and, no doubt, millions of television viewers for pretending to lower his pants and moon the crowd after his second TD of the day. He faces a substantial fine from the National Football League.

But while we don't condone for a moment an act which many people find offensive, even if only in pantomime, his indiscretion hardly rises to the level of a federal offense.

Moss is all about Moss, and generating as much attention to himself as he can. He once squirted a referee with a water bottle. His helmet can barely contain an Afro hairstyle that screams: Look at me!

He's boorish, he's immature, he's annoying. But he's also having fun, and fun is a concept that the NFL occasionally has trouble grasping. This is a league that will fine a player $5,000 for wearing his socks wrong, or not having his jersey tucked in.

Moss could make the case that he was responding in kind to the alcohol-fueled antics of his many detractors in the stands. It has become a tradition of sorts in Green Bay for Packer fans to moon the visiting team's bus as it departs Lambeau Field, and you can assume, despite the frigid temperatures of Wisconsin in winter, they are not merely pretending to lower their pants.

Moss' gesture was not threatening in any way. It certainly carried none of the implied violence that accompanied Packers quarterback Brett Favre's throat-slashing simulation some time ago, a move he was forbidden to repeat.

No matter how much Moss is fined by the NFL, he won't miss it. He's making $5 million this season. No doubt he'll consider the fine a shrewd investment in getting his mug, and other body parts, the attention only he feels they deserve.

In the meantime, the league should lighten up a little bit. We've all got far more serious problems to worry about.

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