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

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Mike Florio and Chris Simms divvy up the blame pie for who’s at fault and for how much as it pertains to Tampa Bay’s disappointments so far, from Tom Brady to coaches to ownership and more.

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.