Cornerback Josh Norman blasts ref after Redskins tie
LONDON — Josh Norman berated field judge Brad Freeman following the Washington Redskins' 27-27 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals, saying Freeman made a number of questionable officiating decisions during the game.
Norman was asked about his matchup with Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, but instead used the question to launch into a tirade against Freeman.
"Who is official 88? He sucked," Norman said, referring to Freeman's number because he did not know his name. "I'm just gonna be honest with you. I'm gonna be straightforward. He was terrible. I feel like he should be reprimanded. I feel like some of the plays that was going on out there , it was just — I mean, it was terrible."
Norman was called for five penalties — two of which were declined — and was flagged four times for illegal use of hands. Each of those violations occurred when the cornerback was matched up with Green.
He also found it inexcusable that the officiating crew did not assess a facemask penalty on Bengals strong safety Shawn Williams for grabbing wide receiver Jamison Crowder at the goal line on a 33-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
"We get a touchdown, no call," Norman said. "Now, defense? We go out there, and on the same sideline, we stop them for a run. We get in there and he said he called a facemask, but there was no evidence of that. It was a scrum. How did you see the scrum facemask, but you did not see the blatant one when it was just him?"
Freeman was unavailable to respond to Norman's comments after the game. When approached, a Redskins spokesman said he had already seen the bus carrying the officials leave the stadium.
Green finished with nine catches for 121 yards, including a 40-yard grab over Norman with 8:04 remaining in which the 2015 All-Pro cornerback was also called for pass interference.
There were two occasions when Norman could have intercepted Andy Dalton, but the ball bounced off his hands — once on the Bengals' the final drive before halftime, once on their first drive of the third quarter.
Norman also broke up a pass down the left sideline by pushing Green out of bounds, and he recovered a fumble by Giovani Bernard in the second quarter that was negated by defensive holding on cornerback Bashaud Breeland.
While Green refused to speak about Norman in the days leading up to the game, Norman, who sustained a concussion a week ago, called Green a "top-three" wide receiver on Friday and said he was looking forward to the challenge.
"I think if you want to be one of the best in this league, you have to go against the best competition, and that's Josh," Green said after the game. "Josh is one of the best corners in this league and I consider myself one of the best receivers in this league, so I go out there and take that as a challenge."
Norman, who has been fined multiple times this season for unsportsmanlike conduct and illegal hits, began his five-minute press conference by introducing Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba. It ended when a Redskins spokesman, concerned about opportunities for other players to speak, returned to the auditorium and cut him off.
Norman also objected to the penalty assessed to wide receiver Pierre Garcon for pass interference at the start of the Redskins' final drive of overtime. That negated Garcon's 5-yard gain.
So Norman took it upon himself to address a discussion that had been taking place in the Redskins' locker room.
"We come over here in an international game and it seems like we threw everything out the window on what we do," Norman said. "Get the guy on the line: 5-yard penalty. Hands to the face. Hands to the face. Hands to the face. But yet, every time I touched (Green), he knocked the hands up into him. I tell him that, but he still called it. How do you play like that?"
When pressed to address other penalties he objected to, Norman demurred.
"Whatever they say about it, I just don't care," he said. "This is how I feel and how the team feels right now. I'm speaking on their behalf. Here and now, this is just how I feel about it. They reprimand us? What's the reprimand for them?"