It didn’t take long for the NFL’s rule against taunting to become the center of ridicule.
In the first quarter of a Week 1 preseason game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots on Thursday, Giants cornerback Aaron Robinson broke up a pass intended for New England wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson, as chronicled by NBC.
Robinson stood over Wilkerson after the play with his hands out at his sides in what could have been read as his message that the pass was incomplete.
Instead, Robinson was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct (taunting).
The Twitterverse reacted strongly to the penalty, with one user saying: “Lol if they’re calling taunting on the incomplete gesture……..it’s gonna be a long season.”
Another Twitter user said the penalty was “such a joke.”
Lol if they’re calling taunting on the incomplete gesture……..it’s gonna be a long season
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) August 11, 2022
Giants CB Aaron Robinson (in coverage) was called for taunting on this play. pic.twitter.com/o31hoMGzqI
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 11, 2022
This is taunting?!? 😔 https://t.co/t7QU2zZTye
— cameron jordan (@camjordan94) August 11, 2022
Here we go again with the taunting. This is such a joke.
— Lawrence Tynes (@lt4kicks) August 11, 2022
“Unless Robinson said something inappropriate toward Wilkerson, there’s no way he did enough to warrant a taunting penalty. The officials need to let players express themselves at least a little bit after making good plays,” Nick Goss of NBC wrote in a story that called the penalty “laughable” in its headline.
“The taunting rule in the NFL has been openly mocked and ripped to shreds ever since the league decided to up enforcement last season,” Hookstead wrote. “While there’s no clear standard, it more or less seems to be that if you look at an opposing player, you might get flagged.”
This is now considered taunting in the NFL. So soft.
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) August 11, 2022
Dear NFL. Please don’t call this taunting ever again -everyone pic.twitter.com/WeRHnfxxF6
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) August 11, 2022
There will never be an incomplete pass all season with taunting calls like this pic.twitter.com/orI7bvV4Rt
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) August 11, 2022
“The rule is beyond parody, and fans shouldn’t have to pretend otherwise,” Hookstead wrote later in the article.
He said after only one week of the preaseason, enough is enough.
“The NFL needs to stop this nonsense immediately. We want to watch football. We don’t want to watch the No Fun League,” Hookstead wrote.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.