Despite his own team bearing the brunt of one of this season’s most controversial taunting calls, Bears coach Matt Nagy agrees with the league’s emphasis on taunting.
Nagy said that he wouldn’t want young players to see taunting in the NFL and think it’s acceptable, and so he’s glad the NFL isn’t allowing it.
“People watch, and people want to see a little bit of respect and a little bit of doing things the right way,” Nagy said. “It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but there’s young kids right now that are watching games, and what happens is you go to one of these sporting events and you might see some imitation going on that’s taking it over the top. I’m a firm believer in respect and just kids growing and watching and we have a huge platform as leaders. Players and coaches. Let’s understand what the rules are, let’d do it the right way. Let’s still have fun — these guys are still having fun and not taunting. You can still have a great time. But let’s stay within the rules as we do it.”
Without mentioning Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh specifically, Nagy indicated that he as a coach accepts responsibility for Marsh not knowing he would be penalized for taking a few steps toward the Steelers’ sideline during the Bears’ loss to the Steelers.
“It’s our job to do it the right way,” Nagy said. “You’ve got to understand the rule. I need to do my job to teach that to the players so that they understand it, and understand these are the rules. We can’t change that.”
The NFL has been inconsistent and at some points downright ridiculous in its emphasis on taunting, but every coach needs to recognize that the rule isn’t going away, and tell his players not to do anything that might draw a penalty flag.