Celebrate good times, but let’s cool it with the taunting.
The NFL sent a video to teams this week explaining that the increase in unsportsmanlike conduct and taunting penalties this season is intended to set an example for kids watching the sport.
“The bottom line is that there’s many, many kids out there that are NFL fans that are playing football,” NFL senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said in the video, according to ESPN. “They see our athletes and they mimic what they do. We wouldn’t want some of these things out on the youth football field. We have a high standard in the NFL and we’re going to maintain that standard.”
Taunting penalties are up by more than 200 percent over the first four weeks from the same amount of games last season, while unsportsmanlike flags have increased by 56 percent, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
In the video, Blandino states that “sportsmanship and player safety are really the two top priorities in the game today,” although he added, the NFL is “not trying to legislate emotion out of the game.”
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Among the celebrations the league wants to eliminate, Blandino says, include those directed at an opponent, anything that “mimics a violent act or weaponry” and any that are “sexually suggestive.”
Allowed celebrations include spiking the ball (as long as it’s not directed at an opponent), bowing and saluting.
“This may seem crazy, but you can just hand the ball to the official. That’s fine, too,” Blandino said in the video. “If we let this go, it will continue to build and certain players will continue to try to outdo each other.
“Then it leads to other things. Then it leads to confrontations. It leads to stomping on logos, it leads to players stomping on logos. So we’ve just got to continue to maintain the standard of sportsmanship and the professionalism that the NFL stands for.”
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News