The Carolina Panthers scored the first touchdown of the 2016 season on a pass from Cam Newton to Kelvin Benjamin. After the play, offensive lineman Trai Turner start hopping up and down like a pogo stick in celebration very close to a Denver Broncos defender. Referees threw a flag on him for taunting, and the call was ... kinda weak.
Turner wasn't just flagged for jumping up and down. The NFL fined him $9,115 for taunting, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
As far as taunting goes, that’s a little more jovial than, say, Terrell Owens celebrating on the Cowboys’ star. The call deserves a little more scrutiny because it touches on a significant rule NFL change. In 2016, any player who draws two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties during a game will be ejected. Fortunately, that’s a rare occurrence. Turner should be able to finish out the game.
Still, the new rule means people will be paying more attention to what referees consider "unsportsmanlike." Early reaction suggests that they were maybe a little too quick to throw the flag.
Taunting? We should just show no emotion at all. All be robots. Not have fun. It’s a physical, violent game. There is emotion. Jeez— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) September 9, 2016
Just another thing to argue about while watching the NFL this season, I guess.
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