Matt Nagy on taunting: There’s young kids watching games, I’m a firm believer in respect

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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.

44 responses to “Matt Nagy on taunting: There’s young kids watching games, I’m a firm believer in respect

  1. Taunting is not a performance or team issue, it’s actually a very selfish act. Too much of the game involves selfish acts. Even the excessive personal celebrations are getting tiresome – I’m referring to celebrations after a routine catch, a tackle, even a first down. The celebrations (by the losing players) when the game is out of reach are ridiculous.
    I am reminded of one several years ago when a Bears LB sacked NE’s backup Jimmy Garappolo in garbage time, with the Bears down about 30 points. He did a sack dance – and promptly blew his ACL. One of the best examples of needless, COSTLY selfish acts in the game.

  2. Where is the discipline for an official that intentionally sticks his butt out and knocks into a player then throws a flag?

    These people aren’t supreme court justices with a lifetime appointment. I get the taunting issue but why wasn’t the official disciplined?

    Corrente should at least be suspended for a week.

  3. Honestly, as much as I dislike the ticky-tackieness of the rule, he’s right. These are grown men, they need to show some self control and not hurt their teams for some TV clout.

  4. They’re watching a game where very large grown men try to physically dominate and hurt one another, sandwiched between alcohol and gambling commercials and we’re worried that they may be exposed to excessive celebrations. Makes a ton of sense.

  5. While I don’t think it warranted a game changing penalty, I don’t understand what Marsh was even doing. Karate kick was cool, the rest was unnecessary.

  6. There is a big difference between getting in someones face, and what Marsh did. No way what marsh did should be a penalty. I do agree finger wagging in players faces and jawing right in their face should be penalized, but the league has again taken it too far.

  7. lets just pretend there isnt a barrage of disrepect and smack talk between players on every play

    “FOR THE CHILDREN” is some bleeding heart nonsense

  8. As someone who officiates high school and youth football, I appreciate Nagy’s comments. There’s no room in the game for taunting. All it does it make a volatile game even more difficult to control. Celebrate with teammates after a TD? Sure, have at it, as long as it’s not too over-the-top. But rubbing it in an opponents face? Not necessary.

  9. But Rodgers can scream “I still own you” at everyone who can hear, and that’s not taunting????????

  10. If young people have to look to a pack of type-A, completely over the top alpha males as role models, this country is in serious trouble.

  11. Nagy is right. I dislike the call but Cassius Marsh overdid it. There’s no reason for him to stare down into opponents’ sideline for that long. Over the top. I disagree with the call but Marsh needed to have better self control.

  12. I agree with Nagy, blatant taunting should not be tolerated: standing over an opponent, barking in their face, barking at the fans in the stands, etc. But what Marsh did could hardly be called taunting, *and* referee Tony Corrente has a long and storied history of holding grudges and using his “Barney with a Badge” powers against players. Corrente should have been suspended 2 games for maliciously engaging Marsh and artistically tossing his flag into the air. If what Marsh did was taunting, then Corrente was also guilty of taunting, full stop.

  13. I’m torn because while I do agree with taunting not going too far, I’m also not looking for the NFL to be the morality gate keepers.

    I’d say that they should just use “common sense” but let’s face it…

  14. I think that taunting and celebrating are being mixed up willy nilly quite a bit in this whole discussion.

    We expect players to be emotionally invested, well prepared, hyper-competitive and focused in a violent, high-stakes league. A lot of them are fighting for their jobs every week.

    When a play ends, what, do we want them to act like robots? If they did, these same people complaining about “taunting” would criticize them for not being emotionally involved in the game.

    And I try to make this point as often as I can: there was no “golden age” in the NFL where players didn’t talk trash or jaw at each other. The crew-cut white guys of the 50s and 60s got after each other, it just wasn’t as obvious. Do you think Butkus was reading the Bible between plays?

    Bad sportsmanship should be discouraged and penalized, but I don’t think people really know what they’re asking for when they want “taunting” penalized. There’s too much grey area. A celebration is a display of exuberance and emotion, but it can also be seen as taunting if you want to go there.

    Brady is a notorious trash talker – who expects him to get a taunting flag?

    Does anyone really believe that college, HS and younger players don’t talk trash and taunt each other? This is more of a start-them-young issue than the NFL influencing what happens with younger players.

  15. Completely agree Brian Fields. They push alcohol, alcohol, alcohol on TV and in the stadiums but are worried about some bad words or taunting adversely affecting kids? I mean come on.

  16. Anytime these players feel slighted they play the disrespect card but they have no problem disrespecting others. The spirit of the taunting rule is fine but the league has to work out the details on how it is called.

  17. @ Brian Fields…. Commercials for alcohol and gambling don’t cause kids to start drinking and gambling. The NFL takes advertising and gambling revenue and helps market those things to adults. The NFL can’t control adults’ moderation of alcohol and gambling, but they can control the way NFL players behave.

  18. Why is it so difficult to control your emotions and respect your opponent. Acting like an adult should be automatic and those supporting taunting as an acceptable action need to grow up.

  19. Time to move past the Marsh thing. He didn’t just take steps, and that sort of lie isn’t helping straighten things out. He leered at the sideline, posing his body like (using an animal example) an ape who had just triumphed over a rival. There is a reason we sometimes use animal comps for certain behaviors – humans come from the natural world too, and so we all have instincts and urges that reflect that status. It isn’t hard to see where the biological urge to “taunt” comes from, but that understanding doesn’t excuse the behavior that is generally agreed to be uncivil. And Nagy is right – if you excuse his leering and flexing and threatening body language, then kids who see if will want to imitate it. Flag the behavior, and it suddenly won’t look so cool.

  20. Taunting during a game is yet another sign of narcissism in our society. Bring needless attention to yourself as a form of gratification and adulation for even the most routine plays. Happens in sports, politics and every day life

  21. These are grown men, they need to show some self control
    But are they? They look like grown men but some of them just became old enough to drink. And the mental development of a 21 year old male isn’t exactly a rapid thing. A lot of these guys are big 15 year olds mentally. I did a TON of stupid crap at that age lol. I think we sometimes forget that.

  22. The NFL consistently seems to create its own obstacles. What the NFL needs to do is stop worrying about letter of the law and focusing more on spirit of the rule and passing the eye test. Far too often these rules are implemented in a way that disengages the core fan base.

  23. If you’re going to penalize taunting, which I believe is correct, then they should ban this nonsense of the whole defensive team going to the end zone to pose as a taunting penalty as well. While not done to an individual player, it is a gesture of “in your face” to the team and the fans. Especially when done by the road team. It’s bad sportsmanship IMHO.

  24. Ultimately, these coaches aren’t good at engaging in taunting themselves, also they’re held to a higher standard. This isn’t a game they can win. So they are taking their ball and going home. They don’t want anyone to play.

  25. Excessive Celebrating (whether taunting or end zone celebrations) what you are paid to do is nonsense.

    And this is exhibited in every walk of American life.

    And this is sad.

  26. Go to almost any youth football game, and you will see them mimic what goes on in the NFL…not a good look.

  27. I wonder how many Amazon employees “celebrate” after each package is filled and sealed…….

  28. Like many others I can’t stand the idea that a bit of celebrating can lead to a game changing penalty. But I think the problem is we have too many refs who have no idea what taunting looks like and so penalize things that clearly aren’t taunts.

  29. The NFL needs to simplify the rule book. I mean its ridiculous that every play you are wondering what they are going to throw a flag for. As far as taunting, blatantly obvious classless gestures should be flagged, i.e. standing over a player, pointing a finger in anothers face of the opposing team. Most NFL games are becoming unwatchable because of all the damn penalty flags thrown.

  30. The NFL is an entertainment business. The players aren’t supposed to be role models, any kid that learns a behavior from entertainment hopefully has parents that can explain that in the real world we behave differently than entertainers.

  31. Taunting is a stupid penalty. These are professionals – there should be a level of conduct that is expected and players who cannot uphold those standards should be dismissed from the sport and banned for life. If you want to end stupid play, start banning players. Once these clowns see that their million dollar plus paycheck is in jeopardy, they’ll wise up. Problem solved after the first clown is punted.

  32. I laugh every time someone mentions “there’s young kids watching”, or “we are role models for younger players”. Give me a break, you’re all entertainers, nothing more and nothing less. Parents are role models…good or bad.

  33. You’re exactly right there are lil kids watching that pathetic excuse of a Game plan you toss out there on a week in week out basis! I know Halloween is over but it’s truly frightening

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