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NFL Head Coach Defends Taunting Penalty Rule

A general view of the Chicago Bears stadium.

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 19: A general view of Soldier Field as the Chicago Bears play the Miami Dolphins on October 19, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. The Dolphins defeated the Bears 27-14. (Photo by John Konstantaras/Getty Images)

Coming into the 2021 season, the NFL said it was putting an emphasis on taunting. It's been very evident through the first two months of the season that the league is staying true to that.

Although there have been countless complaints about the abundance of taunting calls this season, Bears head coach Matt Nagy recently defended the new rule.

"People watch, and people want to see a little bit of respect and a little bit of doing things the right way,” Nagy said, via ProFootballTalk. “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’d 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.”

Of course, players want to set the right example for kids who are watching. However, some of the taunting calls being made this year are just downright egregious.

The Bears were on the wrong side of a controversial taunting call on Nov. 8 against the Steelers. Veteran linebacker Cassius Marsh was called for taunting after he sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a seven-yard loss on third down.

Nagy didn't name Marsh while talking about the league's taunting rules, but he did say that he needs to do a better job of teaching his players.

"It’s our job to do it the right way,” Nagy explained. “You’ve got to understand the rule. I need to do my job to teach that to the players so that they understand it, and understand these are the rules. We can’t change that.”