NFL determines officials were NOT asking Buccaneers WR Mike Evans for an autograph…after a league review found the player was seeking GOLF LESSONS from a friend of the umpire
After an investigation, the NFL determined that two referees who called last Sunday’s game between the Buccaneers and Panthers were not seeking the autograph of Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans.
As DailyMail.com reported yesterday, the league released a review of events after video showed officials Jeff Lamberth and Tripp Sutter running up to Evans with a pen and a sheet of paper for him to sign.
An NFL statement said: “After speaking with the individuals involved, we have confirmed that the post-game interaction between Jeff Lamberth, Tripp Sutter and Mike Evans did not involve a request for autographs by game officials.”
“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 game day, including during the pre- and post-game time periods.”
The NFL investigated the two officials to see if their conduct violated the NFLRA’s CBA.
Additional reporting from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero says that Evans and Lamberth, ‘both went to Texas A&M, and Lamberth was getting Evans’ phone number to pass to a golf pro to give Evans lessons, according to sources. Lamberth had no paper, so he borrowed it from another official.
According to the NFL-NFLRA collective bargaining agreement, officials are prohibited from soliciting autographs or memorabilia from “players, coaches or any other team personnel.”
It is not clear if there are rules that establish punishments for officials who seek signatures.
The referees may have been asking Evans, a Tampa Bay team captain, to sign an official document, such as a score sheet or game notes.
The Buccaneers lost the game to the Panthers 21-3, which was a surprise after they fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers the week before.
A reporter in the tunnel at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte saw officials looking for Mike Evans to sign something for them.
Evans dropped a 64-yard wide-open touchdown pass on the third play of the game.
“No play is the only reason you lose, but that was definitely the biggest reason,” Evans said after the game.
‘I’ve seen life come out of us. It took me a while to play again. They teach us to play the next play, but it was tough, very open, one of the best in the game, I have to catch him.
Evans was referring to star quarterback Tom Brady, who gave another rallying cry to his team after Sunday’s disappointing loss.
The Bucs fell below .500 as the Panthers sealed just their second win of the season.
Evans failed to catch a wide-open pass and the Buccaneers lost to the Panthers on Sunday.