NFL: Controversial Cassius Marsh taunting penalty was correct
Chicago Bears inside linebacker Cassius Marsh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

NFL: Controversial Cassius Marsh taunting penalty was correct

Of all the controversial taunting penalties called during the NFL's much-criticized crackdown on such actions this season, potentially the one most hated by fans and analysts, to date, occurred in the fourth quarter of this week's "Monday Night Football" matchup between the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers when Chicago linebacker Cassius Marsh was flagged after he seemed to harmlessly celebrate recording what could've been a game-altering sack. 

Marsh said after the fact it was "pretty clear to everybody who saw it that I wasn't taunting," and plenty of individuals posting about the matter on Twitter and other platforms have agreed with his assessment. As ESPN's Kevin Seifert and Ari Meirov of Pro Football Focus pointed out, NFL senior vice president of officiating administration Perry Fewell defended the call made by referee Tony Corrente via a video released Wednesday.

"He takes several steps toward the Pittsburgh bench, posturing toward their sideline," Fewell says of Marsh. "Taunting is a point of emphasis to promote sportsmanship and respect for opponents. This was recommended by the competition committee and coaches." 

On Tuesday, Pittsburgh head coach and NFL competition committee member Mike Tomlin backed the league's attempts to eliminate anything deemed "taunting" from games. 

"We’re trying to clean our game up," Tomlin told reporters at that time. "We embrace the responsibility of being the role models that we are. We understand people at a lower level watch us and mimic what we do." 

Like it or not, players who haven't yet adjusted to the league-wide attack on taunting will have to do so immediately or risk gifting opposing teams yards, and in instances such as what occurred Monday, first downs that can impact the outcomes of contests. 

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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