Here are some of the taunting penalties called on Sunday. This stuff is a disaster. It has to stop. pic.twitter.com/DFC1VtZHe6— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 20, 2021
As Myles Simmons noted for Pro Football Talk, Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera is on the NFL's competition committee and, thus, has a say in the league installing such important rule changes. Rivera explained that he backs the crackdown on taunting because he believes doing so can help prevent a fight from occurring during a game.
"We’ve had this example where one guy taunts a guy and then the guy comes back for a little payback and the next thing you know, you’ve got a big fight on your hands," Rivera said during his Tuesday press conference. "You’ve got guys coming from left field hitting each other. And that’s really what, to me I think, the referees are relevant for — they’re just trying to get it quieted down. And that’s really what — I mean, you can do the celebration. They sent a tape out explaining exactly what’s taunting and what’s not. I think if you look at the tape and you follow the tape, then it makes sense.
"I mean, I’m all for the celebrations. Remember, we [with the Panthers] were the 2015 team that everybody was mad at because we were dabbing and stuff like that, taking pictures on the sideline. So, you want these guys to keep their personality. You want them to be who they are because these guys are explosive players that make dynamic plays. But the intent is so that somebody doesn’t do something that gets somebody to come back with a little retribution. You don’t want that. You don’t want somebody out for revenge. That’s what we’re trying to prevent."
Rivera added that players are still allowed to celebrate making big plays as long as such actions aren't directed toward an opponent.
As Jacob Camenker wrote for Sporting News, Chicago Bears safety Tashaun Gipson said this weekend players "don't know if you can be happy" as it pertains to reacting to plays. Rivera's comments make it clear the NFL's enforcement of taunting rules isn't going anywhere this fall, so everyone involved needs to adjust accordingly or risk gifting opposing teams 15 yards via a penalty.