Initially, there was much pushback regarding the NFL‘s taunting rules.
Some view the provision as a stiff guideline that reiterated the league’s image as the “No Fun League.”
Players also raised their disdain because it curtailed their raw emotion while playing the game.
Per its rulebook, the league defines taunting as “The use of baiting or taunting acts or words that engender ill will between teams.”
It’s a broad description that can be interpreted in several ways.
However, the punishment is harsh because it results in a 15-yard loss from the spot that officials deem appropriate.
If a defensive player got caught taunting, the opposing team will get an automatic first down.
A player that commits two taunting calls in a game will be ejected.
The liabilities don’t end there because a player can get a $10,300 fine for the first offense and $15,450 for the second offense.
These fines are appealable.
Yet after the staunch opposition from players at the beginning, it seems like they’ve accepted the rule, as NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero reported.
NFL competition committee chair Rich McKay says they’ve heard no feedback from clubs, coaches subcommittee or the NCAA that the league should be back off on sportsmanship: “It is paramount to the integrity of our game.”
Expect the taunting crackdown to continue in 2022.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 25, 2022
Pelissero said, “NFL competition committee chair Rich McKay says they’ve heard no feedback from clubs, coaches subcommittee or the NCAA that the league should be back off on sportsmanship: ‘It is paramount to the integrity of our game.’ Expect the taunting crackdown to continue in 2022.”
Detailed Guidelines On Taunting
Aside from the penalties and fines levied for the offense, the league should also describe in detail what they consider to be taunting.
Some players use their emotions to play better and they don’t necessarily direct the gesture to their opponent.
Therefore, it would be nice if the NFL can identify specific gestures that count as a taunt.
That way, players would accept the limitations and act accordingly to avoid penalties.