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NFL upholds taunting call against Bears OLB Cassius Marsh

In his weekly recap video of the weekend’s most controversial calls, NFL senior vice president of officiating Perry Fewell highlighted Marsh’s behavior Wednesday on Twitter.

Cassius Marsh does a spinning heel kick to celebrate a sack Monday. Seconds later, he was flagged for walking toward the Steelers’ bench.
Cassius Marsh does a spinning heel kick to celebrate a sack Monday. Seconds later, he was flagged for walking toward the Steelers’ bench.
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The NFL’s leadership agrees with the taunting penalty called on Bears outside linebacker Cassius Marsh in the final minutes of Monday night’s loss to the Steelers.

In his weekly recap video of the weekend’s most controversial calls, NFL senior vice president of officiating Perry Fewell highlighted Marsh’s behavior Wednesday on social media. The video clip of Marsh didn’t even include his spinning heel kick celebration after sacking Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with about 3:30 left in the game and the Bears down three.

Rather, the video shows Marsh walking toward the Steelers sideline after the celebration.

“He takes several steps toward the Pittsburgh bench, posturing toward their sideline,” Fewell said. “Taunting is a point of emphasis to promote sportsmanship and respect for opponents. This was recommended by the competition committee and coaches.”

Fewell, the former Giants head coach, used eerily similar wording as referee Tony Corrente, who threw the flag and explained his rationale in a pool report after the game.

”Keep in mind that taunting is a point of emphasis this year,” he said. “And with that said, 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.”

Rather than punt — the sack was on third down — the Steelers kept the ball and kicked a field goal to go up six. The Bears took a one-point lead with a touchdown but eventually lost by two.

Corrente and Marsh, whom the Bears signed last week, bumped into each other as the outside linebacker ran off the field after the flag. Marsh thought it was intentional. Coach Matt Nagy did not.

Asked about the contact, Corrente said Monday night he “didn’t judge that as anything that I dealt with.” Fewell did not address any contact in the video.