On Monday, the NFL announced that Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans received a one-game suspension for fighting with New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
The altercation started after Tampa Bay failed to convert on a 3rd down pass. Following the incompletion, Tom Brady ran up field and began yelling at an official.
Lattimore, who was guarding the intended receiver Scotty Miller, began jawing at Brady and got into a shoving match with Bucs running back Leonard Fournette. It was then that Evans ran over and laid a big hit on Lattimore, causing a scuffle to ensue.
Mike Evans just needed an excuse pic.twitter.com/C4osPkWGMo
— Ahmed/The Ears/Symba Fan🇸🇴 (@big_business_) September 18, 2022
The NFL said that Evans was suspended for violating unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules. Lattimore was ejected from the game but has not been fined or suspended.
NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote in a letter to Evans regarding the suspension, “You knocked your opponent to the ground and a melee ensued involving players from both teams.”
He continued, “Your aggressive conduct could have caused serious injury to your opponent and clearly does not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional.”
Evans appealed the ruling and according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, “We are waiting on Mike Evans had his appeals hearing in front of James Thrash, the duly appointed officer from the NFL and the NFLPA. He heard the appeal yesterday.”
He added, “Usually or I would say almost always, teams find out whether or not they are going to have the services of their player before the game week. That would be Wednesday morning. So we are going to find out today whether or not Mike Evans is eligible to play for the Bucs against the Packers.”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 21, 2022
After the game, Evans chalked up his actions to defending his teammates.
“He punched my teammate in the face,” Evans said. “I just pushed him to the ground. I just was trying to have my teammate’s back. All I seen was he punched somebody in the face. I was like, ‘I ain’t going to let that happen.'”
However, it would not be crazy to speculate that Evans also had some personal reasons for going after Lattimore.
The two have come to blows multiple times in the past, including a 2017 altercation that led to Evans being suspended, and a 2020 scrap for which Lattimore was fined $10,500.
Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore have gone at it three sperate times over the years.
Evans was suspended one game for what happened in 2017 — so another suspension would not be a surprise.
Here’s a video of all three fights.pic.twitter.com/dRiCVN5WhE
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 19, 2022
Brady said he appreciated Evans’s actions, and called the suspension “ridiculous.”
“I love Mike and the fact that Mike would come out there to defend me, it means everything in the world to me as a teammate and a friend. And Mike knows how I feel about him. So, in the end, emotions are a part of sports. Sometimes they boil over, and they obviously did yesterday,” Brady said on the Let’s Go podcast.
“And it’s an unfortunate circumstance,” he continued. “I don’t think it deserved any type of suspension. I think that’s ridiculous. You know hopefully we can move past it, get to a better place. You know in the end, I appreciate Mike having my back. I know he’ll learn from it. And he knows that we all have is back.”
“I don’t think it deserved any type of suspension. I think that’s ridiculous.”
— Evan Closky (@ECloskyWTSP) September 19, 2022
Bucs coach Todd Bowles also commented on the suspension, “The fighting alone loses a player for the next game. It hurts our team because we lose a very good ball player. We don’t want that. We don’t condone it. We’ve got to move forward and try to find a way to win without him. That should be a lesson to all of our others players.”
He also added, “It’s a controlled aggression game, and you try to protect your teammates, but you’ve got to do it the right way.”
The head coach on Mike Evans’ one-game suspension ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/pbt2HWYRFf
— Sports by Tampa Bay Times (@TBTimes_Sports) September 19, 2022
Evans’s suspension comes at a terrible time for the Buccaneers. If it’s upheld, Tampa will be without its top three receiving options for next week’s matchup against the Packers.
What do you think of Evans’s suspension?