Here is Tony Corrente’s explanation for why he called taunting on Cassius Marsh

Here is Tony Corrente’s explanation for why he called taunting on Cassius Marsh

NFL referee Tony Corrente tried to explain the controversial taunting penalty that he called on Cassius Marsh during Monday Night Football. 

To say the Bears-Steelers Monday Night Football game was controversial is to tremendously undersell the drama.

In a game the Bears had no business winning, Chicago stopped the Steelers on a crucial third-down in the fourth quarter to get the ball back while trailing by only a field goal. The momentum had shockingly swung entirely in the Bears favor — until head official Tony Corrente entered the chat.

Corrente threw a flag on Cassius Marsh for taunting, after the Bears defender sacked Ben Roethlisberger before doing a karate kick and taking a few steps toward the Steelers sideline.

The flag for taunting wasn’t for the kick, but apparently for Marsh moving toward the Steelers sideline. The penalty allowed the Steelers to keep the ball, kick a field goal, and ultimately swung the outcome of the game.

After the game, Tony Corrente met with pool reporters to explain what happened on the controversial call.

“First of all, keep in mind that taunting is a point of emphasis this year. And with the said, I saw the players after he made a big play run toward the bench area of the Pittsburgh Steelers ad posture in such a way that I felt he was taunting them,” Corrente said.

Bears fans also got an explanation for that Tony Corrente hip check

It’s not just the taunting penalty that has drawn the ire of fans. Tweets began making the rounds showing what appeared to be Corrente leaning back and bumping into Marsh as he ran by, and then throwing a flag.

“That has nothing to do with it,” Corrente explained. “It was the taunting aspect.”

To be fair to Corrente — who doesn’t need much sympathy after how badly officiated Monday night’s game was — the bump was about as inconsequential as it gets. The Twitter Outrage Machine was burning hot after the horrible taunting call, but it was being misconstrued that Corrente leaned into Marsh in order to throw the flag.

The taunting call was bad enough on its own, there’s no need to try and pile on with a cockamamie conspiracy theory about a bump. If anything, Corrente had already started to grab his flag when Marsh was running by and impeded his motion.

Of course, regardless of what the explanation for the bump was there’s no excusing the NFL’s taunting rule and how it impacted the outcome of the game.


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