The NFL’s recent decision to crack down on taunting ahead of the 2021 season has earned a decent amount of pushback from players in the league, but Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay said the issue was actually raised by the NFLPA and NCAA.
McKay, who also serves as the chairman of the NFL’s Competition Committee, said the “No Fun League” moniker – as it’s being called in response to the rule being enforced this year – is not entirely merited.
“First of all, this point of emphasis has nothing to do with the No Fun League,” McKay told the Falcons’ website. “Where people can ding us on the No Fun League is the celebration rules. Taunting is a different thing. Taunting is trying to entice that other player into some type of activity that is not allowed in football.”
“So this year, the first issue brought to us by the NFLPA was that there was too much player-on-player taunting activity, and there was too much in your face. No. 2, we meet with the NCAA every year, and the college coaches in the meeting say, ‘Hey, when are you guys going to knock down the taunting?'”
He continued: “The NCAA does not like our celebration rule and the fact that we’ve basically allowed people to celebrate in any way, shape, or form they want. They’ve come to accept it, and they’re kind of okay with it. They’re not okay with the taunting side of it, which is the face-to-face player trying to entice another into doing something because they see what happens. Three plays later, when nobody’s looking, there is something happening and leads to injuries. It leads to ill will and to other things later in the game that fans don’t even see. That’s all we’re trying to target with this emphasis.”
McKay reiterated that the decision to enforce the policy was “unanimously supported” by the NFLPA.
The NFL announced last month that officials are being pushed to strictly enforce the league’s policy against taunting. Two violations will result in an automatic ejection with fines and possible suspensions.
Players like New Orleans Saints cornerback C.J. Gardner-Johnson and star running back Alvin Kamara are just some of the many that have come out against the issue.