Tom Brady has slammed the NFL’s one-game suspension of star Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans in the aftermath of the Saints-Buccaneers melee.
The incident occurred after a third-down incompletion, when Saints defensive back Marshon Lattimore began jawing at Brady.
Evans sprinted in before knocking down Lattimore in a display of aggression. The league announced Monday, Evans would be suspended for a game, meaning he will miss the team’s crucial clash with Green Bay on Sunday.
Bucs quarterback Brady was far from pleased with the league’s decision, which Evans has appealed.
‘I don’t think it deserved any type of suspension,’ Brady said on his weekly Let’s Go! podcast with Jim Gray.
‘I think that’s ridiculous. Hopefully we can move past it and get to a better place,
‘I don’t think Mike should be the one to be blamed and singled out. Unfortunately he has been, and that’s just the reality of life in the NFL.’
While Brady might have been displeased with the final outcome, he appreciated Evans’ willingness to protect him.
‘I think just sometimes the emotions get the best of us, and I love Mike. And the fact that Mike would come out there to defend me means everything in the world to me as a teammate and a friend,’ he said.
‘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 (Sunday), and it’s an unfortunate circumstance.’
Evans filed an appeal of his one-game ban, which will be heard on Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter.
Evans’ hearing will be listened to by James Thrash — who upheld the wideout’s suspension in 2017. The NFL and NFLPA have jointly appointed Thrash to oversee the appeal.
Officially, Evans was found to be in violation of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8(g) which prohibits ‘unnecessarily running, diving into, cutting, or throwing the body against or on a player who is out of the play or should not have reasonably anticipated such contact by an opponent, before or after the ball is dead.’
He also violated Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 which prohibits any act which is ‘contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship.’
In a letter to Evans, NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan wrote: ‘After a play had ended, you were walking toward your sidelines. When you noticed your teammates engaged in a confrontation with Saints’ players, you ran toward that area on the field and violently threw your body into and struck an unsuspecting opponent who was part of that confrontation.
‘You knocked your opponent to the ground and a melee ensued involving players from both teams,’ continued Runyan, a former NFL offensive lineman. ‘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.’
If his suspension is upheld, Evans will be eligible to return to the active roster following the team’s September 25 game against Green Bay. Meanwhile, if the appeal is successful, Evans will play Sunday.
While Brady’s verbal back-and-forth with Lattimore started proceedings, Tampa running back Leonard Fournette fanned the flames, getting into a shoving match with Lattimore before Evans joined the melee.
‘In 2017, I didn’t even get ejected, and that was really a cheap shot,’ Evans said. ‘This wasn’t. He punched my teammate in the face, and I just pushed him on the ground.’
‘It gets spicy when you come to New Orleans,’ Evans said to the Tampa Bay Times. ‘They are a good team, a physical team.
‘All I see is Lattimore punching Lee [Fournette] in the face or something like that and then pushed Tom. ‘That’s all I saw. I just pushed him.’
A clip of Evans went viral on social media after the scrap, with the wide receiver filmed clearly shouting to a coach: ‘That’s Tom Brady! What do you want me to do?’
Tempers got out of hand in New Orleans on Sunday and Brady had an outburst of his own during the game.
After one of many failed Buccaneers drives, Brady spiked his tablet device on the sideline.
While Brady hasn’t had the calmest of experiences against the Saints, he did admit he needs to better control of his emotions hereon.
‘I didn’t do a very good job of (remaining calm), and I’ve got to be really mindful of that going forward and getting my emotions in a good place so it allows me to be the best player I can be,’ he said on the podcast.
‘I think there’s are points where you can become too overly emotional, which I definitely think I was (on Sunday).’
Brady was in a largely jovial mood when discussing Sunday’s happenings, including the tablet-throwing incident which set the social media world alight.
‘I’m trying to make sure I don’t throw my arm out when I throw it,’ Brady jokingly said.
‘I’ve had a pretty bad record against that tablet unfortunately. I forgot the password and I couldn’t log in, so those things can be frustrating.’