The NFL’s crackdown on player taunting came under fire Sunday.
Fans blasted officials for throwing penalty flags in games between the Los Angeles Chargers and Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans.
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In Los Angeles, Justin Herbert thought he had a touchdown pass to Jared Cook to put his team up a score late in the game. But an illegal shift penalty and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Cook nullified the touchdown and led the Chargers to kick a field goal to tie the game.
Seahawks cornerback D.J. Reed was called for taunting after he appeared to defend a pass and celebrate making a good play. He was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Fans were miffed over both calls.
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Eliminating taunting became an emphasis in the offseason with the league threatening fines and possible suspensions, depending on the severity of the taunt.
New York Giants co-owner John Mara defended the rule in August, saying it’s “something we discuss every year in the competition committee.”
“We get kind of sick and tired of the talking that does go on from time to time on the field,” Mara said. “We tried to balance the sportsmanship with allowing the players to have fun, and there’s always a fine line there, but none of us like to see that. It’s just a question of whether you can have rules that can be enforced and without taking the fun out of the game too, but nobody wants to see a player taunting another player. I know I certainly don’t.
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“I think the rest of the members of the competition committee feel the same way, too.”