Giants' Sterling Shepard Has Strong Thoughts Over NFL's Crackdown on Taunting (Exclusive)

One of the big things the NFL has done for the 2021 season is enforced the taunting rule. It has led to an uproar from fans because they believe the league is taking the fun of the game. recently spoke to New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard and had some strong thoughts on the NFL's emphasis on taunting. 

"I'm not too big of a fan of that," Shepard told PopCulture. "I mean, you got to abide by the rules at the end of the day, and if that's what they want, then that's what we have to do. But I mean, since I played this game, this is a gritty, tough game, and trash talk and stuff like that is going to happen. I mean, if that guy gets the best of me and he wants to talk trash, then I'm going to come to get him on the next play if he wants to talk. That's the way I look at it. Like that's the way the game has always been played. So they switched it upon us, but yeah, I'm ultimately not a big fan of it." 

The NFL made the change because the coaches asked for it. As mentioned by Pro Football Talk, the coaches subcommittee, which is made up of Andy Reid, Brian Flores, John Harbaugh, Sean McDermott, Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan, Kevin Stefanski and Mike Zimmer, recommended the change to the Competition Committee. In the first two weeks of the 2021 season, NFL officials have thrown 11 flags for taunting, which is the same number of taunting fouls for the entire 2020 season. 

While taunting penalties are not popular among NFL players, the addition of a regular-season game is something that could be beneficial. Every team will play 17 games instead of 16 this year, and it's something Shepard likes as it gives in another opportunity to play the game he loves, despite the risk of getting injured.

"I love this game, man," Shepard revealed. "And I love playing it. So if you want to add an extra game, that's cool with me; I like being out there. Yeah, there is another risk of injury, but there's a risk of injury wherever, you know what I mean? That's the way I look at it. So more football to be played and I'm excited about it and there's nothing we can do about it right now."