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49ers’ Crabtree, Gore fined $10,500 each for throwing ball in stands

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 30: Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers throws the ball in to the stands after he scored a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park on December 30, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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When 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree and running back Frank Gore scored touchdowns on Sunday, they decided to throw the ball into the crowd and let a San Francisco fan get a souvenir. That was an expensive decision.

The NFL has fined Crabtree and Gore $10,500 each for throwing the ball into the stands.

From the NFL’s perspective, it’s a fan safety and crowd control issue: Fans could get hurt if people are pushing, shoving, leaping, jostling and fighting for thrown footballs. So the NFL discourages players from doing it. Players are, however, permitted to hand the ball to a fan in the first or second row if they can do so without causing a commotion.

There was some good news on the fine front for the 49ers: Outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who was flagged for unnecessary roughness on Sunday, was not fined. That suggests that the league office watched the tape of the play and concluded that the officials made a bad call.