Norman explains spat with Kingsbury during 49ers-Cardinals

Norman and Kingsbury

Josh Norman remains a member of the 49ers despite a costly unsportsmanlike penalty for taunting during San Francisco's rough 31-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals last week that brought his future with the team into question.

Midway through the second quarter of their Week 9 matchup at Levi's Stadium, after the 49ers stopped the Cardinals on a third-and-18, Kingsbury was first hit with an unsportsmanlike penalty for coming onto the field to yell at the referees.

Norman then went over to Kingsbury, said something and then the two were seen shaking hands. That's when the referees penalized the 49ers' cornerback.

The series of penalties led to a first down for the Cardinals and Matt Prater eventually kicked a 26-yard field goal to give Arizona a 17-0 lead.

While Kingsbury and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan addressed the incident soon after the game, Norman finally spoke about the spat Friday while appearing on FS1's "The Herd" with Colin Cowherd.

"Oh my gosh, I don't know what you want to call it, but I think it was just on the play, there were words, but they were friendly words, nothing serious, nothing overbearing," Norman told Cowherd. "He put his hand out to shake my hand, and I actually thought about it for a second and then I was like 'All right, I'm going to shake his hand too,' because we were just having a friendly spat there. Nothing more than that. And kind of went away and saw these other guys come up, and I think the referees, they got in there, some of this is kind of out there. At the end of the day, that was the situation that happened.


"Obviously, two people who know each other can't really ... shake each others hand anymore. I think that's called taunting. But at the same time, you're trying to have some fun with the game and sometimes it gets taken a little too serious. But we got a flag for that. Obviously that's not what we wanted in that situation, so it hurt the team. I truly didn't mean anything by it and I thought coming into something like that with Kliff, it was just a cool conversation, but obviously they deemed that it was more than that. And as you see, this has been a thing in the league with this stuff. It's crazy. It's crazy."

Norman said the coaches go over taunting penalties with the players, but there's an element of emotion that can't be stripped from the course of a game.

"At the end of the day, how do you play this game with no emotion?" Norman asked. "You've got grown men with all this testosterone and they're battling against other grown men and it's like, OK, we've been seeing this played for the longest [time] and you have some emotion and you do a little celebration and they look at that as taunting.

"And it's kind of like 'Man, this is the game that we love so much.' You do a good thing and you want to expose that, get that out of you. And obviously it's frowned upon, so you got to look at that and do it another way."

Kingsbury was asked about the moment immediately after the Cardinals' win over the 49ers, and said the same thing as Norman: It wasn't a big deal.

“I like Josh, I know Josh," Kingsbury told reporters last Sunday. "I think it was just more friendly banter that got misinterpreted, but I shouldn't have been out there doing that.

“I think he was just telling me that wasn't a very smart thing to say to the officials to get the original penalty. But it wasn't, I'm telling you, it wasn't anything malicious.”

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The 49ers decided not to cut ties with Norman, who reportedly is trying to play through fractured ribs. The veteran cornerback will be among the group of defensive backs that will have to slow down the high-powered Los Angeles Rams' offense on Monday night. Adding to the dynamic is Los Angeles' addition of Odell Beckham Jr., who has had previous run-ins with Norman during their time in the NFC East.


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