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NFLPA President JC Tretter Calls For Removal Of Taunting Penalty

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If you look at the 2021 NFL Rules Changes, it seems as though the widely criticized taunting penalties were favored by all parties involved ahead of this season.

“To promote good sportsmanship and respect for opponents, the NFL Competition Committee, NFL coaches, and the NFL Players Association all strongly recommended that the taunting of an opponent be a point of emphasis for officials,” the 2021 Rules Changes and Points of Emphasis’ website reads.

But NFL Players Association President JC Tretter says players would support the immediate removal of the taunting point of emphasis.

“But as we saw in a Colts preseason game – and a number of other preseason games – this attempt at controlling ‘taunting’ is going to be a weekly issue that takes away from the spirit of the game,” Tretter said.

Troy Vincent, Sr., executive vice president of NFL Football Operations, tweeted a link to 2021 NFL Rules Changes and said the rules are designed to “enhance player protection and improve the game.”

Vincent said the NFL and NFLPA, collaborate with players, NFL Legends and clubs each year to update the rulebook.

Tretter said ahead of the start of the regular season that the competition committee that while there is a player at the table for the discussions to make opinions known and to ensure recommendations are heard, he said players get a token vote.

“I can assure you, as an attendee of the competition committee meeting myself, that was not the case. On the contrary, we would support the removal of this point of emphasis immediately,” Tretter said.

The NFLPA tweeted and said only one player representative makes up the 11-member committee, with all 10 other individuals selected by NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell.

“… We take the time to show up and take part in these discussions because ultimately, we are the ones playing the game,” Tretter said. “Yet the NFL has the votes to push through whatever rule they want.”

Tretter said fans enjoy the intensity and the raw emotion that players show on the field, and a majority of the time the players understand the line between that emotion and bad sportsmanship.

The 2021 Rules Changes and Points of Emphasis can be seen in full here.

The 2021 Rules Changes and Points of Emphasis lists taunting as: “Any flagrant acts or remarks that deride, mock, bait, or embarrass an opponent.”

“Two taunting penalties committed by an individual player will result in an automatic disqualification. In addition, the taunting player may be subject to additional discipline depending on the severity of the action.”

The league’s process for “modifying or adopting rules and regulations is systematic and consensus-oriented” and takes in many sources of input before a deliberative process, according to its website.

“The Competition Committee reviews all competitive aspects of the game, including (but not limited to) playing rules, roster regulations, technology, game-day operations and player protection,” the website states.

The 2021 Rules Changes and Points of Emphasis can be seen in full here, and the full 2021 NFL rulebook can be seen here.


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Written by Meg Turner

Meg graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter at @Megnturner_ and Instagram at @Megnturner.

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