Sports are riddled with taunts and smack talk both on and off the field and that will never change.
Most recently, Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate taunted St. Louis Rams safety Rodney McLeod while trotting into the endzone for a touchdown. Nothing wrong there right? Well, some would argue no, but Tate’s taunt was a tad excessive. He started taunting McLeod at the 25-yard line.
I agree that Tate should’ve been flagged for taunting, but now the National Football League is considering negating touchdowns where excessive taunting takes place. Let’s call this “The Golden Taunt Rule” for simplicity’s sake. Under this rule, the touchdown would not count and the yards gained would stop at where the infraction occurred. For Tate’s taunt, the 80-yard touchdown would turn into a 55-yard reception — still an awesome gain, but that really hurts the team.
Taunts are everywhere in sports, but only in football are they really penalized harshly. I would argue that the whole athletic arena changed when the University of Michigan brought in the Fab Five to play basketball. They started trendsetting in both style and on the court by wearing longer shorts, shaving their heads and wearing black socks as well as smack talking the other team which was arguably unheard of before then.
In college football, players are not allowed to taunt so I can see why people would argue for that same rule to be enforced on the professional level. The rule in the NCAA says that whatever results past where the flag is thrown is negated. College football is viewed as purer than professional football; players work harder because they try to reach the NFL.
Players in the NFL already have restrictions on taunting: no props, nothing too excessive. Why restrict it more? NFL administration has already made players overly cautious with their targeting rule, now it seems they are scaring off fans with The Golden Taunt Rule. Taunting is a great part of the game when in good taste, seeing player creativity is a lot of fun for fans.
Taunts range from Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith’s snow-angel to New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham’s goalpost dunk. The NFL already flags and fines (occasionally) players for excessive taunts, why should they penalize players even more? I can’t exactly figure out why they’re all of a sudden being super strict with all these new rules.
My good friend Ryan Beauchamp (@r1sba93) brought up another good point: with all these new rules it adds even more pressure to referees. Building off his point, referees are under enough pressure as it is with the rules that are in place already, why do Roger Goodell and the rest of NFL exec want to add more? Referees and their calls, unfortunately, can make or break close games. Imagine if you were a referee and you had maybe half a second to determine if something is excessive taunting? If you had to determine if a grown man that stands five inches taller than you celebrated too much on a touchdown. I’d like to see Goodell be a referee for one game and see what happens.
Players should be allowed to celebrate scoring. Many scoring drives take a lot of time and work and celebrations are well deserved. Obviously I disagree with excessive/insulting taunts, but most are in good taste. Do I agree with Tate’s taunt? Not particularly because he did it starting at the 25 yard line. Am I glad he apologized publicly? Yes, I am because what he did was a touch on the excessive side of things. His apology won me over especially because he used one of my favorite phrases in sports, “act like you’ve been there before.”
Taunt on in good taste, athletes, taunt on!
What do you think? Tweet Mike your thoughts @mikeonthemic93