Friday, March 24 2023

According to the NFL, the postgame interaction between two referees and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans did not include a request for an autograph.

Following the Bucs’ 21-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, video emerged showing Evans being approached by a referee and appearing to sign something while walking off the field after the game.

NFL referees are explicitly prohibited from seeking autographs from any NFL team personnel — not just players — per the collective bargaining agreement between the league and its referees’ union.

The NFL released the following statement Tuesday:

“After speaking with the individuals involved, we have confirmed that the postgame interaction between [side judge] Jeff Lamberth, [line judge] Tripp Sutter, and Mike Evans did not involve a request by the game officials for an autograph. Both Lamberth and Sutter have been reminded of the importance of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety when interacting with players, coaches, and club staff on gameday — including during the pregame and postgame time periods.”

According to a report from the NFL Network, Lamberth was looking to get Evans’ phone number in order to pass it along to a golf pro to give Evans lessons. Lamberth borrowed paper from another official to write down the number.

The incident followed a very disappointing day for Evans, Tom Brady and the Bucs. Two years removed from a Super Bowl victory in Brady’s first season in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers are 3-4 after their loss to a clearly rebuilding Panthers team.

It’s the first time since 2002 that a Brady-led team has been under .500 this late into a season.

Sunday’s game started on an inauspicious note for Tampa Bay when the normally sure-handed Evans dropped what would have been an easy touchdown pass from Brady early in the first quarter.

Evans later blamed his drop for his team’s overall offensive struggles when speaking to the media postgame, saying he saw “the life go out” of the Bucs after the play.

Tom Brady’s Bucs embarrassed 21-6 by Panthers in Week 7

Skip Bayless discusses what percentage of the blame TB12 deserves for the Bucs’ Week 7 loss.

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Source: FOX Sports


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