The NFL needs to get its priorities straight, at least when it comes to finger wagging and taunting penalties.
In Sunday’s matchup between the Chiefs and the Texans, cornerback Marcus Peters received a 15-yard penalty for taunting after breaking up a pass intended for DeAndre Hopkins. What was Peters taunt? It wasn’t a throat-cutting gesture or a middle finger. Rather, Peters went Dikembe Mutombo on Hopkins and waived his finger at him. Yep, the NFL is now calling taunting penalties for finger wagging:
— Jeff Rosen (@jeff_rosen88) September 18, 2016
It’d be one thing if this was simply the NFL living up to its No Fun League reputation and going overboard on a taunting call. But it’s actually more hypocritical in this case. Finger wagging has become one of Texans linebacker JJ Watt’s signature moves. Does Watt regularly receive taunting calls? Of course not.
But what makes matters worse, is the official NFL Twitter account tweeted out a picture of Watt wagging his finger right before the match.
So which is it? The league (at least the social media team) clearly endorses finger wagging so much they’re OK making Twitter posts about it. Peters does the same thing and he’s given a 15-yard penalty.
The same gesture can’t be taunting for one player and worthy of league promotional material from another, regardless of context.