Bears HC Matt Nagy defends NFL emphasis on taunting penalties
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bears HC Matt Nagy defends NFL emphasis on taunting penalties

The NFL's much-publicized and much-maligned crackdown on taunting made national headlines during and following a prime-time game between the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers held on Nov. 8. Chicago linebacker Cassius Marsh was flagged after he seemed to merely celebrate notching a sack that otherwise would've presented the Bears with possession of the football late in the contest. 

Pittsburgh head coach and NFL competition committee member Mike Tomlin came out in favor of the league's emphasis on eliminating taunting the day after that matchup, and Chicago head coach Matt Nagy has now done the same. 

"People watch, and people want to see a little bit of respect and a little bit of doing things the right way," Nagy explained, according to Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. "It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but there’s young kids right now that are watching games, and what happens is you go to one of these sporting events and you might see some imitation going on that’s taking it over the top. I’m a firm believer in respect and just kids growing and watching and we have a huge platform as leaders. Players and coaches. Let’s understand what the rules are, let’s do it the right way. Let’s still have fun — these guys are still having fun and not taunting. You can still have a great time. But let’s stay within the rules as we do it."

Nagy didn't name Marsh but added it's his job "to teach" players how they can correctly celebrate making big plays without earning costly penalties in the process. 

Despite public protests made by analysts and fans via social media outlets, NFL senior vice president of officiating administration Perry Fewell announced last week referee Tony Corrente correctly penalized Marsh in that instance, per league rules. 

Players have been warned for months and, at this point of the season, have no excuse for getting flagged for taunting moving forward.

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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