Washington coach Ron Rivera says the NFL is thinking of the children with its crackdown on taunting.
Rivera, a member of the league’s Competition Committee, said he is teaching his players that they need to avoid taunting, not only because the NFL is warning players that officials will call taunting penalties more strictly this season, but also because he doesn’t like the way it looks for young fans.
“The league sends us the directives as to what’s going on and then they send us a sampling of what’s acceptable and not acceptable,” Rivera said. “The whole concept and idea behind it is what we don’t want is we don’t want it to escalate. So they tell everybody, this is an emphasis. This is what we’re really going to try and clamp down on. And traditionally, you know, if it happens, especially during the preseason, it’s a great time to do it. Just so the players understand what the referees are going to be looking for. They don’t want you taunting your opponent.
“If you make a great play, great. Be excited, but don’t do it towards your opponent. That’s all we’re asking. That’s what the rule is for. Cause what we don’t want is an escalation of some things that have happened in the past. I think last year, two teams got into it where wide receivers and DB’s were going at each other. A year ago we have one where two teams are going at each other. I mean, you don’t want to see that situation. That’s not a good look for any sport, let alone football and somebody’s going to get hurt and you just don’t want that. And that’s why they’re doing it. That’s what the emphasis, that’s why everybody’s just got to relax, calm down. Let us go through this process of trying to make sure the players understand that, hey guys, you can celebrate and can have a good time, but 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 look. Quite honestly, we don’t need the young people to see that. We don’t need the pop warner, peewee football kids seeing us act like that. We want to put it out there as professionally as possible.”
Many NFL players and fans have vocally opposed the league’s crackdown on taunting, but the people who make the rules aren’t backing down. The crackdown on taunting will go on.