People were left up in arms on social media last night following a penalty that was handed out during the New England Patriots’ game with the New York Giants.
Preseason got underway for a few teams last night, as teams are finally able to get into the swing of things when it comes to football with the regular season now being less than four weeks away. It gives rookies and other fringe players the chance to show their coaches what they can do when going up against other players rather than just restricting it to players on your own team in practice.
It’s also an opportunity for referees to get used to a few things as well. There are quite often rule changes in the NFL and the preseason is a chance for the officials to work out how they are going to implement them and for the players to adjust to them being called.
However there was one incident in the game last night that has garnered plenty of attention from those on social media.
New York Giants defender Aaron Robinson, an undrafted player in 2021 who will be hoping he’ll be able to have more of an impact in 2022 after only playing in nine games last year, was defending a pass thrown his way toward New England Patriots man Kristian Wilkerson, only for the ball to sail over both of their hands and fall incomplete.
Robinson threw his arms to his side, much in the way a referee would, to signal the incomplete pass to celebrate a play well done on his part, only to be flagged for ‘taunting’ for the way he did it:
Giants CB Aaron Robinson (in coverage) was called for taunting on this play. pic.twitter.com/o31hoMGzqI— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 11, 2022
Aaron Robinson was called for taunting after this pass breakup. What a joke of a call pic.twitter.com/wv3mx0DSHY— Ben Brown 🌻 (@BenBrownPL) August 11, 2022
Now the NFL has gone back and forth over the years when it comes to how players can celebrate and what constitutes going ‘over the line’. For instance ahead of the 2017 season they relaxed their celebration rules, which led to a lot of creative ideas from teams, but they have also taken a hard line when it comes to players taunting their opponents during games recently, so it’s a bit of a grey area to decipher what falls in what category.
But given the circumstance, for taunting to be called on this play seems a little bit too much, considering it’s a pretty standard move for defenders to pull when a pass goes incomplete.
A step too far
Which is why these people on social media couldn’t contain their anger and dismay at the league when they saw the penalty being called:
The good thing is, this is just the preseason and the result of the play doesn’t really matter, but the outcry with this might just force the NFL to look at their taunting rules again, and luckily there’s still a little bit of time to sort things out before the regular season starts. Otherwise we might have to look forward to about 50 penalties a game, and nobody really wants that.