Brandin Cooks vows to keep celebrating with bow-and-arrow gesture

ByMike Triplett ESPN logo
Wednesday, October 12, 2016

New Orleans Saints receiver Brandin Cooks is frustrated by the NFL's sudden crackdown on the bow-and-arrow touchdown celebration that he began as a sign of his faith in God.

Cooks himself has never been fined or penalized for the gesture, which has become so associated with him that the NFL Players Association and a partner company created an emoji of Cooks shooting an arrow. Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman was hit with both a penalty and a fine two weeks ago, with the NFL's head of officiating Dean Blandino explaining that it "mimics a violent act."

Cooks said he plans to keep doing the celebration in some form, although he doesn't want to hurt his team by drawing a flag.

"Well, there are different forms of doing it. You just can't shoot [the arrow]," Cooks told "I'm still going to pull it out. Whatever happens after that happens. I don't want to do anything to jeopardize my team, but I'll figure something out."

Cooks has adopted the nickname, "The Archer," which he uses on social media.

The third-year receiver explained to last year that the bow-and-arrow gesture was inspired by a Bible passage in which a boy named Ishmael used his archery skill to survive in the desert.

Cooks further explained to the New Orleans Advocate on Tuesday that he found another Bible verse that spoke to him: Psalms 144:6, a form of which he then recited.

"Send forth lightning and scatter your enemy, and shoot your arrows and rout them," Cooks said. "I just remember it sticking with me for such a long time, I remember thinking, maybe I can do something with this."

Cooks expressed his frustration to both media outlets on Tuesday while doing promotional interviews for Mercedes-Benz.

"I've been doing it for three years now, and there was never a complaint about it," Cooks told the Advocate. "Now, all of a sudden, there is. It just reminds me that, it's almost as if they try to take so much away from us, but for something like this, that means so much to someone that has nothing to do with violence, it's frustrating. I'll definitely continue to speak my opinion about it, and if they have a problem with it, so be it."

Cooks added to "It's one of those things that they want to fine anything and get their little ... whatever they want. They're not going to stop me."