Publish date:

John Mara: Competition Committee Gets ‘Pretty Sick and Tired of the Taunting’

In Wednesday’s Hot Clicks: the Giants’ owner explains the NFL’s taunting crackdown, Jack Morris’s racist quip in the booth and more.

It’s an explanation, if not a satisfying one

The biggest question people were asking after the NFL announced its crackdown on taunting—and especially after the outrageous taunting call on Colts running back Benny LeMay on Sunday—was why the league felt it necessary to enforce the rule more strictly in the first place. Now, we have an answer.

Giants owner John Mara, one of the members of the NFL competition committee that was responsible for the anti-taunting changes, spoke with the media on Tuesday and was asked about the discussions the committee had that led to their decision.

“That’s something we discuss every year in the competition committee,” Mara said. “We get kind of sick and tired of the taunting that does go on from time to time on the field. We tried to balance the sportsmanship with allowing the players to have fun and there’s always a fine line there, but none of us like to see that. It’s just a question of whether you can have rules that can be enforced and without taking the fun out of the game too, but nobody wants to see a player taunting another player. I know, I certainly don’t. I think the rest of the members of the competition committee feel the same way, too.”

“Nobody” wants to see taunting? As I’ve written before (I can’t believe this is the third time in a week that I’m writing about taunting), I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a certain amount of taunting, and I suspect the majority of NFL fans agree with me. But the competition committee isn’t made up of fans, it’s made up of older guys who have spent the majority of their adult lives in the NFL. It consists of two owners, two team presidents, two general managers and three head coaches, the youngest of which is 49-year-old Mike Tomlin. It’s a reasonably diverse group, but by design it’s out of touch with the people who play the game and the people who watch it.

The members of the competition committee are not the kind of guys who are going to be able to correctly determine where the fine line between fun and sportsmanship that Mara mentioned should be drawn. As much as they like to think otherwise, owners and team presidents are not the people who make the NFL. It’s the players and fans. If the rule is enforced as strictly as it sounds like it will be, the players and fans are going to let the suits hear about just how wrong they were. 

SI Recommends

The best of SI

Forty observations about the college football schedule. ... Give Tim Tebow credit for covering all the bases in chasing his NFL dream. ... National Wrestling Alliance owner Billy Corgan (yes, the Smashing Pumpkins guy) bought the championship belt formerly belonging to a women’s wrestling pioneer and hopes to use it to highlight her place in history

Around the sports world

Bills lineman Dion Dawkins says he spent four days in the hospital with COVID-19 and called it one of his “lowest points.” ... The Nevada football team has been forced to relocate its training camp to Stanford due to smoke from wildfires. ... A New York woman who had her left leg amputated below the knee set a world record by running 100 miles on a treadmill in under 22 hours. ... After hesitating about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa has gotten the shot

His apology was a mess

The video of Chris Bassitt taking a line drive to the head is sickening but it sounds like he’s doing fine

Was Marcus Stroman ever a shortstop?

Pretty flashy

Good slate of NBA games this Christmas, in addition to two NFL games

It won’t be long before this is the norm

Brett Phillips and third base coach Rodney Linares have been close since they were in Double A together in 2015

Not sports

Small pieces of human brain developed in a lab spontaneously grew eye-like structures. ... A walrus in Ireland that sunk two boats and damaged others by climbing into them has been given a “floating couch.” ... Nerf made a replica of the gun from Aliens in celebration of the film’s 35th anniversary

A good song

Email dan.gartland@si.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.