Mike Evans on officiating controversy: “I wasn’t signing my autograph”

NFL: AUG 02 Buccaneers Training Camp
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Exactly one year ago, Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans sparked an unexpected controversy by giving away the football that was Tom Brady‘s 600th touchdown pass to a fan. Now, Evans is in the middle of an unlikely brouhaha regarding another piece of memorabilia. Or whatever it was.

Video from Sunday showed Evans writing something on a white card, at the behest of a pair of game officials. It looked like an autograph. The league concluded it wasn’t. The league also won’t say what it was.

Evans won’t say what it was, either, based on the snippet from a Tuesday press conference that has made its way to Twitter.

I wasn’t signing my autograph, I’ll tell you that,” Evans said, via Greg Auman of TheAthletic.com. “I talk to a lot of officials, we’re all human beings. He’s a nice guy. That’s all. We were just talking about, you know, golf. That’s all we were talking about.”

But what was he writing about? If not an autograph, what was it? The NFL won’t say, but the NFL’s owned-and-operated media conglomerate claims Evans was giving his phone number to the official, so that the official could give it to a golf pro from whom Evans may take lessons.

If that’s the case, why wouldn’t Evans say that? To say “we were talking about golf” when the question is what he wrote on a card is like saying “I ordered pizza for dinner” when the question is what movie you went to see after the meal.

The whole thing is weird. The league’s refusal to be transparent made it weirder. Evans’s refusal to be transparent makes it weirder still, because he did nothing wrong. There’s no reason for him to not tell the truth.

Unless, of course, he doesn’t want the folks who enforce and apply the rules to hold a grudge against him.

59 responses to “Mike Evans on officiating controversy: “I wasn’t signing my autograph”

  1. They we’re taking about golf, right after a game where they were dominated all while writing on a piece of paper? You cant make this stuff up!

  2. Move along – even if it was an autograph who really cares. Its not a big deal. Its someone trying to stir the pot to make it a big deal.

  3. Hey I know you just got your butt kicked and dropped an important catch. Wanna talk about golf? Sure!… Great team leadership. Bucs just rolling over.

  4. Another Brady protege. When caught in a flat out blatant lie, just keep lying and denying it until daddy goodell takes control. Funny how incidents like this always happen on a team Brady is on if it isn’t Brady himself.

  5. Maybe because it’s none of our business. Reporters seem to think they are entitled to know everything. If it wasnt an autograph or a bank account # to wire a bribe to, why do we care? Nothing-burger.

  6. Exactly, that Ref’s bias caused Evans to drop that wide open pass! Shame on him and the NFL!

  7. NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported that Lamberth was getting Evans’ phone number to pass it along to a golf pro in order to get the receiver lessons, per a source. Pelissero added that Lamberth didn’t have any paper, so he borrowed it from another official. Both Evans and Lamberth attended Texas A&M.

    So um I guess the NFL did say what it was.

  8. He was signing the check to payoff the officials for the Brady roughing the passer call a few games back…..

  9. Might be easier to just let all officials request autographs for their families (or self) in advance of the season and have those fulfilled after the season is over.

  10. Gonna have to call BS as loud as possible on this. Supposing it was the phone number of a golf pro from whom Evans may seek lessons, everyone from the NFL to the ref and Evans would be saying so and there’d be ZERO story here. When anyone asks “what did you write” there’d be ZERO reason to avoid saying what it was. ‘The ref gave me a golf pro’s details’ is a heck of a lot easier from a PR perspective than ‘we have no further comment’. You simply do not say “we have no comment” if there is no there there. You have ‘no comment’ only when there is plenty to say but no desire to say it.

  11. Him writing his number down, for any reason is even worse. Every team has PR people for exactly this and I’m sure the refs know how to get ahold of them. I’m sure it was for a harmless thing like getting golf lessons but that isn’t the point. The point is the optics of this are inexcusable for a game that people are betting money on, which the league supports/promotes.

  12. Why wouldn’t he say it? Maybe because his life outside football is nobody’s business. Also, he probably wants to avoid any conflict of interest insinuations that he is buddies with the guy making decisions about the game he’s playing in. Pretty mild stuff. Move on.

  13. If it was an autograph, it would be a HUGE deal, breaking league rules and putting the officials integrity in doubt.

  14. Seriously who cares. “Hey man, you wanna go to a nice course, go to this place, lemme write it down. Here’s the golf pro, here’s his number. Tell him I sent you. It’s a great course”

    Does everything need to be controversy?? sheesh

  15. Learned from the best on how to lie and deny everything until goodell comes to save the day. Speaking of Evans learning from Brady of course.

  16. “It’s nobody’s business” …you’re wrong, as evidenced by the rules about involvement between players and refs.

  17. The way the Bucs season is going I can actually believe that Evans is already starting to think about golf.

  18. Unused to think that common sense was the trait that was going extinct. But now I think it’s integrity.

  19. Yeah, nothing here. It isn’t like Tampa Bay is going anywhere this year. This is a delicious treat for Tomasina Brady who could have retired. Maybe he knew his shrew wife was going to leave him and he needed something to do in his spare time.

  20. Another Brady team involved in a cheating scandal?

    Hard to believe…..

  21. So wait, first you say Evans shouldn’t have to say anything but that the NFL should. But in this article, you’re questioning why Evans isn’t saying what he was signing?

  22. It’s called fraternization. And it is always wrong. What are the “nothing to see here crowd” going to say when this ref makes a terrible call in favor of Evans when it is against their team, or any team. We see terrible calls, if in fact they weren’t on purpose, in every game. Like NO, two years in a row. It is not allowed in any other sport that I have seen. Check what has happened to refs in other sports, like soccer, in other countries. Real bad result for those refs. No star struck ref should have the power to change game results ever. Kick them to high school, if they’ll have them.

  23. “The NFL won’t say, but the NFL’s owned-and-operated media conglomerate claims Evans was giving his phone number”

    You mean the SAME NFL-owned-media-conglomerate that BROKE the story?? So, how does that work – they break the story and THEN try to cover up?

  24. Ref: “Hey it’s week seven and you still haven’t paid your FF League entry fee.”
    Evans: “I’ll write you a check.”

  25. patswillreign says:
    October 25, 2022 at 2:52 pm
    We were playing tic-tac-toe and it was my turn.

    They were playing “MASH”…he got the shack. Anyone who was in elementary school in the early 1980s will remember

  26. Ah! He was just signing his scorecard from the round he played with the refs on Saturday. Wait…

  27. He gave him a number of a golf coach cause they went to the same college — why does everything have to be the next Watergate? Biggest non-issue of the year.

  28. Some fail to realize the way players, officials and others directly involved with the game. This is their job. Mike Evans is a veteran who, while I’m sure he wants to win, isn’t going to go sit by his locker and reflect on the crappy performance. These people all work together, the way many of us work with others. An official saying “hey, give me your number and I’ll pass it on to the golf pro in Texas” (which is what reportedly happened) is as banal as it gets. It’s two guys who work together.

    Somehow, it all it’s wisdom, the NFL thought the smart thing to do was to go all no comment. SMH.

  29. Maybe it was his AA sponsor. Or suicide hotline. Or something private that is none of our business.

  30. Obviously Evans has already checked out if he was busy signing an autograph or writing his number for golf lessons after an embarrassing loss!

  31. For real who would just want an autograph on a piece of paper, and not memorabilia? Is he gonna hand his kid a piece of paper and say “here’s Evans’ autograph”?? Does he have a stack of papers in his office with various NFL player signatures?

    For as unclear as the official explanation is, the conspiracy theories are equally unclear.

  32. This would be a non-issue had the NFL not hesitated to explain what Mike Evans was signing up for with the officials. Their hesitation tells me, at least, that it was not an exchange of golf tips but an exchange of numbers for future purposes. Those future purposes are for having the referees decide games in favor of Tampa Bay using ref ball. Provided those referees are officiating the future games, of course. I and others are certain this is what happened. I personally saw this type of quid pro quo occur when fellow classmates and friends of mine would personally seek favors from others in a rather unfair manner.

    This is not on Mike Evans. Indeed, this type of quid pro quo happens very often in the league. The blame is squarely on the NFL front brass and their unwillingness to look past their gambling and game fixing profits. Perhaps this is one final attempt to turn around the current prospects of the Buccaneers, who are now 3-4 and on the verge of at least having Tom Brady and/or Julio Jones retire before the season is over. Likely Brady, because judging by today’s conference he was for the first time in a while unable to get the motivation to win on Thursday. Certainly, the Bucs may very well lose to the Ravens on Thursday. Even so, Tom Brady and co. will need referees and their help to win games if possible. Replacing either Todd Bowles and/or Byron Leftwich will result in locker room chaos and blatant racism. All eyes are on the team that was given the preseason hype beyond all teams for 2 seasons in a row. A hype which only was legitimate the first third of the 2021 season.

    This is one more problem the NFL is facing in its crisis of legitimacy and integrity. And I am concerned there will be a bottom to drop even farther than it has been so far. Maybe if the league was not tied ad hock with Draft Kings and others, this could be rectified.


  33. If it’s not his cheap-shotting Lattimore when he has his back turned Evans has nothing to say.

  34. Whatever. How about rodgers throwing all of the packer players under the bus for not catching is throws into the dirt.

  35. If they were getting an autograph wouldn’t it be on a ball or photo why get it on a piece of scratch paper?

  36. He was asking him to write down the point spread. They all need to remember that but they are human and sometimes forget. For cover, they say they are talking about golf and its their handicap.

  37. I actually don’t buy the golf story, there is nothing they can say that makes what I watched look any different.

    But if it really was about golf and I was a coach interested in winning, I would bench Evans for that. Your team just got humiliated on the field and you are worrying about your golf game? A lack of focus like that is how teams get humiliated on the field by opponents they are supposed to be better than.

  38. Why would the officials be asking Mike Evans for an autograph when Tom Brady was there as well? Makes no sense.

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