In football, giving him the business is a description of a player who attacks a player of the opposing team, usually by punching with his fists. If an official observes the act, the attacking player will be sanctioned by notifying the Referee of the infraction, who will determine whether a penalty will be called. "Giving him the business" is a personal foul, which will penalize the offense with a 15 yard loss, or, if the offender is on defense, a fifteen yard penalty and (depending on the rules in effect) an automatic first down.
The same call may be made for other attacks of a similar nature, including striking with other parts of the body or when the player attacks vulnerable parts of the body.
"Giving him the business" is a rare but notable call in American football. Ben Dreith used the call against the defender who was punching quarterback Jim Kelly during a 1986 game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets. Dreith's unusual call was, "There's a personal foul, on number 99 of the defense — after he tackled the quarterback, he's giving him the business down there, that's a 15-yard penalty."  Dreith's call also involved an improvised hand signal of a repeated punching action. Twenty-one years later, on November 24, 2007, during a game between University of Maryland and North Carolina State University, ACC referee Ron Cherry called a personal foul, saying, "He was giving him the business." Cherry did not use Dreith's hand signal.