Taunting penalties have caused controversy throughout this NFL season, and perhaps the most controversial happened on Monday Night Football, when Raiders tight end Darren Waller got a 15-yard penalty because he spiked a ball after a catch along the Chargers’ sideline.
Waller did not appear to be attempting to taunt the Chargers at all, merely making a quick celebration of his own big play before returning to the field, but the officials flagged it. Raiders coach Jon Gruden said after the game that he hates taunting.
“I don’t understand the taunting. I hate taunting. I think it’s ridiculous,” Gruden said. “I think what happens after an interception or a touchdown, we allow these celebrations, I consider that taunting. I don’t understand what happened over there on the Chargers’ sideline. But the official made the call, we have to deal with it. We couldn’t get any momentum going. That didn’t help us.”
Although the NFL’s emphasis on taunting penalties this season has taken severe criticism, Gruden doesn’t seem to have a problem with the league trying to take taunting out of the game. Instead, Gruden is primarily upset that it happened to his own team on a night when little went right for the Raiders.