As the NFL continues to get bashed over flagging players for celebrating success, Ron Rivera joined in the conversation as someone who loves the taunting rules.
The Washington Football Team head coach spoke with reporters and was asked about the NFL competition committee’s decision to emphasize taunting penalties for the upcoming season. He’s in full support, in due part, because of the children.
“The whole concept and idea behind it is that we don’t want it to escalate,” Rivera said. … “If you make a great play, great. Be excited. But don’t do it toward your opponent. That’s all we’re asking. …
“You can celebrate. You can have a good time. But let’s don’t taunt your opponent, because we don’t want the retaliation in this league. We really don’t. Because it is not a good luck. Quite honestly, we don’t need the young people to see that. We don’t want the Pop Warner, peewee football kids seeing us act like that.”
It was last week when the NFL announced that “officials have been instructed to strictly enforce the taunting rules” that are already in place. Basically all of the dancing and gestures that officials have ben turning a blind eye to will be paid attention to and flagged every single time.
Egregious or repeated infractions can result in fines, ejections or suspensions.
One of the biggest moments last season was Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. giving Tyreek Hill a dose of his own medicine by putting the peace sign in his face at the Super Bowl. He was flagged for that.
Rivera’s comments echo those of New York Giants owner John Mara.
“We get kind of sick and tired of the taunting that does go on from time to time on the field,” Mara said. “We tried to balance the sportsmanship with allowing the players to have fun, and there’s always a fine line there, but none of us like to see that.
“It’s just a question of whether you can have rules that can be enforced and without taking the fun out of the game too. But nobody wants to see a player taunting another player. I know, I certainly don’t. I think the rest of the members of the competition committee feel the same way, too.”