New York Giants co-owner John Mara, a member of the NFL’s Competition Committee, talked about why taunting has become a point of emphasis heading into the 2021 season.
NFL fans were no doubt ecstatic to see a full slate of games this past weekend, even though they were preseason contests. But one point that really stood out from this past weekend was Indianapolis Colts running back Benny LeMay being called for a highly questionable taunting penalty.
Taunting has been described as a point of emphasis by the NFL’s Competition Committee and will be enforced this upcoming season. New York Giants co-owner John Mara, who is a member of the committee, defended their decision to penalize taunting while speaking to the media at the team’s practice on Tuesday.
NFL players respond to John Mara’s taunting comments
“That’s something we discuss every year in the Competition Committee,” said Mara, via FanSided National NFL insider Matt Lombardo. “We get kind of sick and tired of the talking that does go on from time to time on the field. 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.”
Mara’s comments did not go unnoticed, as players responded to them on Twitter. Those included Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara and Green Bay Packers safety Adrian Amos.
Last week, NFL Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay spoke on taunting in the league’s rule changes and points of emphasis video for the upcoming season. Here is McKay’s full quote, which explains how players will be penalized and punished for taunting:
“The NFL Players Association, coaches and competition committee have all made a strong statement regarding respect among everyone on the field,” McKay said in the video, via NFL.com. “We saw an increase in actions that clearly are not within the spirit and intent of this rule is not representative of the respect to opponents and others on the field. Game officials have been instructed to strictly enforce the taunting rules, and players and coaches are reminded that two taunting penalties committed by an individual player will result in automatic disqualification. In addition, the taunting player may be fined and/or suspended depending on the severity of the actions.”
With Mara defending the committee’s decision to enforce taunting this upcoming season, he will have to deal with the backlash from fans and players who don’t mind it when those on the gridiron show emotion after making a play.