Clyde Edwards-Helaire was fined $10,300 for unsportsmanlike conduct after pointing at Cowboys linebacker Luke Gifford during Kansas City’s Week 11 win over Dallas. The Chiefs running back pointed at Gifford after extending the Chiefs’ lead on a second-quarter touchdown run.
The NFL has emphasized taunting throughout the 2021 season. The increased taunting penalties have led to intense criticism from fans who have seen several games impacted by the 15-yard penalty. One of the biggest taunting penalties occurred during the Bears‘ Week 9 loss to the Steelers, when Chicago linebacker Cassius Marsh was flagged after briefly staring in the direction of Pittsburgh’s sideline after making a sack. The penalty, which occurred on a third-down play, allowed the Steelers to kick a field goal that contributed to eventual 29-27 win.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who is a member of the NFL’s Competition Committee, recently explained the NFL’s decision to crack down on taunting this season.
“We’re just trying to clean our game up,” Tomlin said. “We embrace the responsibility that comes with being the role models that we are. This game being played at the highest level. We understand that people that play at a lower level watch us and often mimic the things that we do and how we conduct ourselves. Just largely as a league, competition committee specifically, there was a desire to improve in that area.”