The NFL fined Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer $11,576 for his gesture toward the CenturyLink Field fans on Sunday.
Palmer was caught on camera looking into the stands behind the Arizona bench and making a gesture just after Cardinals running back Andre Ellington scooted along the sideline for a 48-yard touchdown. The score gave Arizona a 39-29 lead in their eventual 39-32 win against the Seattle Seahawks.
To punish Palmer, it appears the league can cite Rule 12 in the rulebook, which concerns player conduct. Palmer’s actions could be considered taunting.
(c) The use of baiting or taunting acts or words that engender ill will between teams.
The Cardinals quarterback told ESPN that the gesture was meant for a group of friends who were in the stands. But the NFL rulebook doesn’t help Palmer’s cause, even if he wasn’t interacting with Seahawks fans.
This sub-section, in particular, likely led to Palmer being fined.
Note 4: Violations of (c) will be penalized if any of the acts occur anywhere on the field. These acts include but are not limited to: throat slash; machine-gun salute; sexually-suggestive gestures, prolonged gyrations; or stomping on a team logo.
Here is a video of Palmer’s gesture, which might help you discern which of the above actions the Cards quarterback violated.