Ron Rivera joins John Mara in support of NFL's taunting crackdown: 'We don't need the young people to see that'

·3-min read

As the NFL clutches its collective pearls over grown men taunting one another, management is speaking out in support of the recently announced crackdown. 

Ron Rivera joined the campaign Wednesday. 

The Washington Football Team head coach spoke with reporters and was asked about the NFL competition committee's decision to emphasize taunting penalties for the upcoming season. He's in full support. Because the children, of course. 

"The whole concept and idea behind it is that we don't want it to escalate," Rivera said. ... "If you make a great play, great. Be excited. But don't do it toward your opponent. That's all we're asking. ...

"You can celebrate. You can have a good time. But let's don't taunt your opponent, because we don't want the retaliation in this league. We really don't. Because it is not a good luck. Quite honestly, we don't need the young people to see that. We don't want the Pop Warner, peewee football kids seeing us act like that."

Ron Rivera looks on during the first half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
Ron Rivera is looking out for the young people. (Paul Rutherford/Reuters)

NFL's no-tolerance stance on taunting

In case you missed it, the NFL announced last week that "officials have been instructed to strictly enforce the taunting rules" that are already in place. That means interactions, gestures and dances that officials may have turned a blind eye to previously will now result in penalty flags. Egregious or repeated infractions can result in fines, ejections or suspensions

The catalyst for the crackdown appears to be Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill, whose repeated taunts on big plays last season came back to bite him in the Super Bowl. Retaliation, if you will, courtesy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. 

Rivera's comments echo those of New York Giants owner John Mara, who gave his take on taunting in a news conference Tuesday. Mara is a member of the NFL's competition committee that green-lit the taunting crackdown 

Mara: 'None of us like to see that'

"We get kind of sick and tired of the taunting 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. I think the rest of the members of the competition committee feel the same way, too."

In stating "none of us like to see that," Mara wasn't speaking for everyone, most notably fans and players. But he was speaking for the NFL's decision makers, which is ultimately what matters here.

So taunting this season will result in more flags, delays and non-football incidents potentially impacting the outcome of games. If preseason officiating is any indication, here's what the crackdown will look like in practice. 

Children, avert your eyes.

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