Sports are about competition. At the highest level are the most competitive and intense athletes in the world. The NFL doesn’t want excessive celebrations, though. Fair enough. However, the taunting flags this weekend have driven a lot of fans mad. All over social media, there are fans complaining about the taunting rule and how it is being applied.
You see it happen in almost every sport. Big play happens, some kind of celebration occurs. Now, there is a difference between celebrating and taunting. Those lines seem to be blurring more and more with the NFL. Refs are really trying to enforce the rule and it has led to upset fans.
The video above of D.J. Reed, cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, is a great example of the quick trigger fingers the refs are having. When a player makes a strong play on defense, a small flex or yell is in order. However, the officials in Seattle did not feel the same. So, Reed got hit with a taunting penalty, and after two of those penalties, the player is ejected. Reed managed to avoid ejection.
This isn’t the only game that these taunting penalties have popped up into. While there is a limit to what a player should do in celebration, a little flex and yell are far from that limit. If the NFL wants to make a no-flexing/staredown rule like the NBA go ahead, but the nature of the game isn’t compatible with it. A choice is going to have to be made in regards to this penalty.
NFL Fans React to Taunting Penalties
Fans have been reacting on social media about the penalties. From jokes to genuine concern and frustration. When games are changed and decided based on penalties like taunting, it isn’t going to make viewers happy. It isn’t even about a certain team losing. What it comes down to is good football versus bad football. Momentum being taken away from referees makes for bad football.
Former MLB player Will Middlebrooks took to Twitter to reveal his frustration. A former professional athlete understands the frustrations better than anyone else.
Of course, he wasn’t the only one who took to Twitter to vent.
It just comes down to having an enjoyable experience versus frustration all game. Two or three of these penalties in a game can change things dramatically. There isn’t a great way to even define taunting or excessive celebration. I know the NFL gives a definition in the rule, but really it is subjective. It is something you know when you see it. Doing a jump or even spiking the ball shouldn’t be cause for a 15-yard penalty.
Hopefully, the NFL is able to address the issues. Get the referees on the same page and make sure that there is a way for players to express themselves in the heat of the moment and not face a penalty for being human and having emotion.