NFL must embrace full transparency on taunting calls

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The theory behind the emphasized enforcement of the 23-year-old taunting rule makes sense. The NFL’s approach to public communications regarding the rule does not.

The league failed to effectively communicate or explain its decision, for the second time since 2014, to make taunting a point of emphasis. That failure has required coaches to spend time explaining the situation, and it has forced those who generally aren’t inclined to perform gratuitous P.R. services for 345 Park Avenue (e.g., me) to take the heat for trying to get people to understand what the rule is, and what it isn’t.

The league isn’t helping matters. Although it’s possible someone with the league office thinks that leaking to Mike Jones of USA Today that nine of 11 taunting calls made through two weeks were correct, that’s still a failure rate or more than 18 percent. That’s not good.

It’s also not good that the NFL won’t say which nine were correct and which two weren’t. Show us. Tell us. Help us understand it.

This is where the decision to go cheap on the V.P. of officiating gig continues to hurt the league. It desperately needs someone like Dean Blandino or Mike Pereira to appear on radio shows, TV shows, podcasts, wherever to explain this kind of thing. Currently, no one from the league is doing it.

That’s a tremendous mistake, making it so much harder to get the league to persuade fans and media to understand the purpose of the taunting rule (first adopted in 1993) and the reason for emphasizing its enforcement.

So I’m done providing free services on this. The league has the resources and the reasons to clean up this mess. Until it does, I’ll keep pointing out what a mess the league has made by failing to get people to understand why the rule is what it is.

10 responses to “NFL must embrace full transparency on taunting calls

  1. These players are in the heat of the moment, I’d be fine with a warning if things get chirpy, rather than throwing the flag every time the players look at each other after the play , gimme a break. A lot of this perceived taunting is actually friendly banter a lot of the time. I’d like to know that these particular flags were in fact warranted.

  2. Imagine taunting in your office at work or across any organization. The lawsuits and grievances would be flying (it’s a form of harassment). The 1960-70’s east coast bullying is mostly a thing of the past in many corporations. The term “Poor Sportsmanship” needs to be implemented for players taunting. And it needs to be draconian (immediate ejection, a 4 point play, something extreme). It’s immature and makes the league unprofessional.

  3. Yeah right, the NFL must do something. Unfortunately they are the 900 pound gorilla and don’t have to do anything they don’t want to.

  4. The NFL must embrace full transparency on ALL OFFICIATING. This includes allowing 100% of all plays and calls to be reviewed. People saying it will slow down the game are lying. If a coach only has the same number of challenges, there’s no possible way that it would slow down the game. None. Zilch.

  5. Listen 0 tolerance for taunting period. Why? Because it sets a bad example for young people who are watching and playing in pop Warner, grade school, high school. It goes against everything you are taugh about sportsmanship as a youth, jawing really has no place in the game. If you want to Mike up every player and challenge taunting that’s the only real way i could see you reviewing individual calls. The other alternative, absent of a 0 tolerance policy to eliminate all the bs. I’m not a fan of subjectivity, Mike em yo and review or eliminate it altogether.

  6. Taunting sets a bad example for young kids learning sports. I’m not sure anyone cares anymore but it’s bad sportsmanship. I agree that the NFL should address it head on.

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