NFL fines Cassius Marsh after controversial taunting call

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The NFL is digging in on the controversial penalty called against Bears defensive end Cassius Marsh.

Not only did the league insist the taunting penalty that helped cost Chicago the game against the Steelers was correct, in a widely panned video earlier this week, but also Marsh was fined $5,972 for unsportsmanlike conduct, according to NFL.com.

Marsh reportedly plans to appeal the fine.

Marsh was flagged in the fourth quarter against the Steelers after doing a karate-kick celebration following a sack and staring down Pittsburgh’s bench. The penalty wiped out a third-down stop, and the Bears went on to lose, 29-27.

“I think that one was just bad timing,” Marsh said after the game. “I think it was pretty clear to everybody who saw it that I wasn’t taunting. I’ve been doing that celebration my whole career and it’s just sad to see stuff like that happen in a close game like that. It’s just rough, man.”

Referee Tony Corrente referenced the NFL’s point of emphasis on taunting when defending the call to a pool reporter.

“I saw the player, after he made a big play, run toward the bench area of the Pittsburgh Steelers and posture in such a way that I felt he was taunting them,” Corrente said.

Cassius Marsh
Cassius Marsh sacks Ben Roethlisberger during the bears loss to the Steelers last week.
USA TODAY Sports

Marsh said that Corrente himself had acted inappropriately by sticking his hip out and making contact with Marsh before throwing the flag. Corrente said that incident did not contribute to the call.

“If I were to do that to the ref or even touch the ref, we’d get kicked out of the game and possibly suspended and fined,” Marsh said. “So I just think that was incredibly inappropriate.”

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