Football Team

Ron Rivera is 'for celebrations' yet supports taunting rule

Football Team

No one on the Washington Football Team has been harmed by any controversial taunting penalties in the early portion of the 2021 season, but plenty of other NFL players have already gotten flagged for post-play acts that don't seem that bad to those watching the action.

With that in mind, Ron Rivera was asked on Tuesday if he's using the missteps of others as teaching lessons for those on his roster. After quickly acknowledging that yes, he is continuing to remind his guys to be smart, Washington's head coach proceeded to open up about the issue that the league is currently monitoring very closely. 

"The idea behind the taunting rule is to prevent the bigger things," said Rivera, who is a part of the NFL's Competition Committee that is responsible for the added emphasis on taunting.

To Rivera, it's always pretty simple (he touched on this same topic last month): You can do what you want following a clutch first down or an important forced turnover as long as you don't do it at the expense of your opponent. In no way does he all of the sudden expect the sport's stars to transform into mutes or anything absurd along those lines. 

In fact, his best year in Carolina featured all sorts of histrionics and he enjoyed that experience quite a bit.

"I'm all for celebrations, Rivera said. "Remember, we were the 2015 team that everybody was mad at 'cause we were dabbing and stuff like that, taking pictures on the sideline. You want these guys to keep their personality, you want them to be who they are because these guys are explosive players who make dynamic plays.

 

"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 there for revenge."

Now, what's perturbing football fans and many, many squads is that a handful of the flags that have been assessed feel beyond stingy.

It's one thing to want to avoid ugly brawls, but when a tight end, for example, spins a ball that happens to land near a defensive back's feet but clearly wasn't meant to be insulting and still gets penalized, that's unreasonable. One member of the Chicago Bears even told reporters that he's unsure "if he can be happy" after he was whistled for taunting in Week 2.

Rivera didn't get into those murky instances on Tuesday. Instead, he just reiterated the necessity of not showing up someone on the other side when you're fired up about your own performance.

"Get up and do your ball drop, do your dab or your dance or whatever, but don't do it toward somebody," he said. "Don't step over somebody and drag your leg over somebody. That's what we're trying to prevent."

As mentioned, Washington has stayed within the rules through two contests. Should that change, it'll be intriguing to see if Rivera's stance does as well.