Cooks' bow and arrow move comes from Bible, the NFL wants to take it away

Brandin Cooks is a devout Christian who also plays football for the New Orleans Saints.

Brandin Cooks is a devout Christian who also plays football for the New Orleans Saints. 

The 23-year-old wide receiver's Twitter feed is filled with scriptures from the Bible, testimonies of his faith and words on inspiration. 

During moments of success, Cooks will often draw back an imaginary bow and arrow in celebration. Cooks told The Advocate it's a symbolic gesture from a passage in the Bible that has stuck with him: 

It was the story of Ishmael, the son of Abraham and his wife's servant, an Egyptian named Hagar. After Abraham's wife, Sarah, bore him another son, Isaac, she wanted the boy and Hagar cast out of their house, and God promised to Abraham that he would make a great nation out of Ishmael, the same promise he'd made about Isaac.

Ishmael and Hagar wandered in the wilderness after leaving Abraham, and the boy became an expert archer to provide for himself and his mother.

The story stuck with Cooks, and then he found another verse that spoke to him.

Psalms 144:6.

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

The symbolism matters so much to Cooks that he calls himself "The Archer" and had a gold pendant custom-made in the offseason to wear on a gold chain around his neck.

But earlier this week, the NFL 's competition committee has decided that simulating the act of shooting a bow and arrow represents violence -- a decision that sprung from the action of another NFL player. 

Two weeks ago, Washington cornerback Josh Norman was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and fined $10,000 for doing a similar celebration near the sideline. 

Senior Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino explained that gestures that mimic a violent act, "something with a firearm or a bow and arrow, or a sexually suggestive act" are considered unsportsmanlike conduct.

"That's direct from the competition committee and something that we're going to try to be as consistent as possible," Blandino said.

But for Cooks, the bow and arrow gesture is like pointing to the heavens or dropping to a knee after making a touchdown. 

Read the full story from The Advocate: Erickson: Brandin Cooks' bow and arrow carries too much meaning for NFL to flag it away


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