John Harbaugh supports NFL's taunting rule to set example for kids watching

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John Harbaugh supports new taunting rule to set good example originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Ravens coach John Harbaugh offered his support on Wednesday for the NFL's new taunting penalty, at least in principle.

"Well, I haven't personally looked at any of the calls so far. I agree with the idea," Harbaugh told reporters at the Ravens' Week 3 availability

Harbaugh is among the eight coaches on the NFL coaches subcommittee to have recommended the league's new rule, which has been criticized over the past week. Through the first two weeks, 11 taunting flags have been thrown -- the same number of taunting penalties to be called all of last season. 

And though Harbaugh hasn't seen the new rule in action in either of Baltimore's opening two games, nor has he had the time to look at how the new rule has been called around the league, he's standing by why the coaches subcommittee recommended it in the first place. 

RELATED: Ron Rivera is 'all for celebrations,' yet still supports NFL's taunting rule

"I mean, sportsmanship is very important. The way we treat each other is very important. I think the NFL is out in front in so many ways, we're high profile. Kids watch us all the time," Harbaugh said. 

"So the way we treat each other on the field is very important. It's about respect. Respecting one another and how it gets interpreted from game to game I think is something you've got to work through. It's basically about respect and respecting one another and sportsmanship."

Along with Harbaugh, Chiefs coach Andy Reid, Dolphins coach Brian Flores, Bills coach Sean McDermott, Rams coach Sean McVay, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, Brown coach Kevin Stefanski, and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer are the coaches on the subcommittee to have recommended the rule. The Competition Committee, which includes Colts coach Frank Reich, Titans coach Mike Vrabel, Steeler coach Mike Tomlin, and Washington coach Ron Rivera, approved it this past offseason. 

While Harbaugh is determined to set a good example for the next generation of NFL players, Rivera explained his support for the new rule on Tuesday. 

"The idea behind the taunting rule is to prevent the bigger things," Rivera said. "The intent is so that somebody doesn't do something that gets somebody to come back with a little retribution. You don't want that. You don't want somebody out there for revenge."

Players can be fined up to $10,300 for their first taunting offense, and $15,450 for the second offense. While some take issue with how the new rule has been enforced during these first two weeks, Tomlin is among those to think it's only a matter of time until the players and fans adjust to this new norm.

"All of us, to a man, acknowledged that this is something that needed to be addressed,” Tomlin said. “That’s why it’s a point of emphasis. That’s why none of us are surprised at the number of calls in terms of them being increased. The players will adjust; they always do. They better adjust quickly, specifically speaking of mine.”