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Sports NFL players sound off as controversial taunting penalties pile up: 'You don't know if you can be happy'

05:15  20 september  2021
05:15  20 september  2021 Source:   sportingnews.com

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The NFL is cracking down on taunting this season, and the center of the defending Super Bowl Champions was flagged for taunting the Cowboys' Carlos Watkins in the opening game of the season. TAMPA — Rob Gronkowski may be known for his brawn, but he’s one of the brainiacs of the NFL .

After the play , Winfield Jr. taunted Hill by throwing up two fingers in his face and promptly drew a penalty . Announcers Jim Nantz and Tony Romo both criticized Winfield for taunting , and that makes sense because good sportsmanship is important. However, let me raise a counterpoint: Winfield taunting Hill was actually super cool. The Bucs are Super Bowl champions and Winfield looks like he’s going to be a major part of an amazing defense for a long, long time. Don ’ t let the penalty get you down, rook.

The NFL decided to make taunting calls a point of emphasis for the 2021 NFL season. The decision to do so has caused some waves already just two weeks into the campaign, as expected.

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There were several questionable taunting penalties across the league in Week 2 of the season. The calls drew the ire of players, coaches and fans alike though most didn't have an impact on the outcome of the game.

Part of the issue with the penalties was that players and coaches wanted know why each penalty was called. The officials didn't elaborate much about what is and isn't acceptable on the field, so that led to some frustration.

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The NFL 's efforts to enforce player conduct off the field have been a hallmark of Roger Goodell tenure as commissioner. This marks the first major foray into regulating behavior on the field. You don ' t need to be bombarded with UnderArmour commercials to know that trash talking is ingrained into the culture of sport, for players and fans alike. How the league goes about cleaning up the words coming out of player 's mouths in an efficient and effective manner could end up being the story of the 2014 season.

The revenge came late in the Bucs' Super Bowl victory when Winfield broke up a pass intended for Hill and then returned the peace sign. He was hit with a flag (and later a fine) but it was a memorable moment and a perfect bit of frontier justice. “When we played them earlier, Hill went off on us,” Winfield said. The Hill-Winfield deal is probably what led to the rule change and Benny LeMay getting flagged and the possibility that this season could be a parade of referees trying to assess emotions and sadness among the players . Might be easier to just let them play . More from Yahoo Sports

Here are some of the notable taunting calls and reactions to them from the NFL's Week 2 games.

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Tashaun Gipson taunting call

Gipson was whistled for one of the first taunting penalties of the day in the Bears' win over the Bengals. The Bears safety clapped in the face of Bengals receiver Ja'Marr Chase after a pass breakup on the Bengals' first drive of the game. Gipson was whistled for the 15-yard penalty and that kept the Bengals offense on the field, though they failed to score.

After the game, Gipson said that the officials "didn't really explain" why he was penalized on the play and voiced that he wasn't a fan of the rule.

"I wasn't really saying much," Gipson said. "I just clapped because it was a huge play on third down, pumping up my guys, and that is the type of energy that you are playing with these guys. I don't want to be out there if I can't be happy for my guys when they are making big plays. That's what this game is about man. It's just adrenaline."

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Even if you don ’ t use the football as a prop, there are plenty of ways to draw a penalty for a celebration that doesn’t include Of the silly taunting penalties in Week 4, this one seems the least silly. The NFL can’t just allow players to bounce the The gore, guts and horror of an NFL fumble pile .

Throw in an additional holding penalty from the team’s season opener in Oakland and Bolles has racked up five holding penalties in the first two weeks of the season. No other player in the NFL has been called for more than three holding penalties over that span. While those around him may very well still believe in him, it’s clear their patience to see that belief pay off is starting to wane. Several voices from the Broncos – at all different levels of the organization – said Bolles needs to figure it out.

Gipson still acknowledged his remorse for committing the penalty even though he didn't like the call.

"It was costly, man, and that's something I just can't do, put our team in that third down, it's hard to get off the field," Gipson said to reporters. "I apologized to them and that's uncharacteristic of me, but you know, that rule is a fine line right now. You don't know if you can be happy or if you can — you know, I don't want to go into detail about it man, but anytime our guys make a play, man, I am going to be the first one to congratulate them and be happy."

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Jordan Akins taunting penalty

Akins caught the first completion of Davis Mills' career on Sunday against the Browns. The Texans tight end proceeded to spin the ball on the ground after making the catch, an act that has been commonplace in the NFL for decades.

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The crackdown on taunting penalties was a story during the preseason. We all hoped that it was something that would be called a lot in August and then fade away during the regular season. Then we got the first taunting penalty of the season on Thursday night, and it was bad. Whatever Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen said to Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Carlos Watkins probably wasn' t worth a penalty . Watkins hit Jensen in the facemask and got a penalty of his own, but because the NFL refs are cracking down on taunting , the penalties offset.

The league could vote for taunting penalties to negate touchdowns scored to by the violating party, according to NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino (via Pro Football Talk). The subject of negating touchdowns came up while Blandino was speaking on NFL Network on Wednesday afternoon. Tate and the Seahawks were penalized 15 yards on the kickoff following the touchdown, but the score still counted. If the committee decides to negate the score, it could possibly lead to major consequences for those who fail to show respect to other players . The Seahawks won the game in Week 8 against the

He was flagged for taunting, as he evidently spun the ball too close to the face of the Browns' defender.

Texans coach David Culley didn't seem thrilled with the call and after the game. He couldn't get an explanation about why the penalty was called, much like Gipson.

“They called it taunting. They said that was taunting," Culley said with a a shrug. "No more explanation other than it was taunting. And taunting is a big emphasis this year. It has been and obviously we found out today how big it is.”

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Levi Wallace taunting call

Wallace had a nice pass breakup in the Bills-Dolphins game. The Buffalo cornerback celebrated the play right over the Dolphins' defender's head and appeared to say something to him while walking away. That drew the flag from the officials.

Wallace ended up having the last laugh. He jumped a Jacoby Brissett interception just one play later.

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DJ Reed taunting penalty

The Seahawks had a seven-point lead on the Titans when cornerback DJ Reed broke up a pass intended for Julio Jones. The play by Reed prevented a touchdown, and he was understandably excited after the play.

Reed celebrated by flexing in the direction of Jones. The referees decided that fit the definition of taunting.

The Titans ultimately failed to convert on fourth down later in the drive, but the call wasn't well received by the Seahawks, nonetheless.

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Jared Cook taunting call

Cook scored what appeared to be a go-ahead touchdown for the Chargers. He celebrated his score by spinning the ball on the ground in front of the Dallas defender and making a "Feed Zeke" type motion in front of him. That drew a flag.

However, the penalty proved inconsequential. The Chargers had been whistled for an illegal shift on the same play. The Cowboys accepted that penalty to render the touchdown moot. Dallas couldn't accept the taunting penalty since it occurred after Cook's touchdown. Accepting it would have allowed the touchdown to stand.

NFL satisfied with nine of 11 taunting penalties called so far .
Though the NFL has faced some pushback from players and fans on its new point of emphasis, the league has said calls have largely met its standard.The NFL has no immediate plans to request the competition committee review the matter for possible modification of enforcement, a person with knowledge of the league's plans said.

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