The NFL’s war on player celebrations continues, and now the officials are on the frontline.

The Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas recovered a fumble on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints and duly returned it for a touchdown. After celebrating with fans he turned around to spread the love, wrapping an official in a hug.

That landed Thomas an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, with the side judge – who looked distinctly unamused – throwing a flag. It cost the Seahawks 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff.

Thomas is a five-time Pro Bowler for the Seahawks, and one of the most accomplished players on a famously strong defense.

This article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Sunday 30th October 2016 18.35 Europe/London

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