WATCH: Ref Appears To 'Hip-Check' Bears Player, Stirs Controversy

By Jason Hall

November 9, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

NFL official Tony Corrente stirred controversy for an apparent incident involving a Chicago Bears player during the team's 29-27 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday (November 8) night.

During the live Monday Night Football broadcast, numerous viewers tweeted reactions to Corrente appearing to "hip-check" Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh prior to flagging him for taunting, a crucial call that allowed Pittsburgh to continue its drive and set up a successful field goal by Chris Boswell.

"On my way to the sideline, I got hip-checked by the ref. It's pretty clear," Marsh said after the game via ESPN. "If I was to do that to a ref or even touch a ref, we get kicked out of the game and possibly suspended and fined. I just think that that was incredibly inappropriate."

The contact came after Marsh sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on what would have forced fourth down, but instead, resulted in a taunting penalty after Marsh -- who spent part of last season and the preseason with the Steelers -- took several steps toward Pittsburgh's sideline and did his celebratory spinning jump kick.

The Bears were penalized 15 yards and Pittsburgh added three points on a 52-yard field goal to extend its lead to 26-20.

"I think that one was just bad timing. It's pretty clear to everybody who saw it that I wasn't taunting," Marsh said of the celebration and ensuing taunting call. "I've been doing the celebration my whole career. It's just sad to see stuff like that happen in a close game like that."

Corrente addressed the incident after the game and said the contact had nothing to do with Marsh's role in the taunting penalty.

"First of all, keep in mind that taunting is a point of emphasis this year," Corrente said in a pool report. "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.

"I didn't judge [the contact] as anything that I dealt with. That had nothing to do with it. It was the taunting aspect."

The NFL enforced stricter rules on taunting this past offseason in an effort to limit incidents from occurring.

Chicago was penalized 15 times during Monday's loss for a net total of 115 yards lost.

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