Two NFL umpires could be in hot water after appearing to ask Tampa Bay Bucs star Mike Evans for an autograph – as the league ‘opens a review of its possible conduct against rules’.
- The NFL is investigating the behavior of two umpires after the Bucs Panthers game
- Jeff Lamberth and Tripp Sutter stopped Bucs’ Mike Evans for his signature
- Officials “are prohibited from asking players for autographs,” according to the rules
- Fans on social media were divided over the incident following the Tampa Bay loss
- There is a possibility that Evans, a team captain, signed an official score sheet
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The NFL is reportedly investigating the conduct of two umpires who appeared to have asked for Tampa Bay WR Mike Evans’ autograph after the Buccaneers’ game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the league launched a flashback to events shortly after the two were seen running up to Evans with a pen and piece of paper for him to sign.
The footage was shot in the tunnels of Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, with the two officers identified as Jeff Lamberth and Tripp Sutter.
According to the NFL-NFLRA collective bargaining agreement, officials are prohibited from “soliciting autographs or memorabilia from players, coaches or other team personnel.”
It’s not clear if there are any rules penalizing officials seeking signatures.
A reporter in the tunnel at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte spotted officers looking for Mike Evans to sign something for them
More specifically, it is not clear if there will be any punishment for the two referees involved in this incident.
This could also be a case where officials weren’t looking for autographs, but Evans – who is captain – may have signed an official score sheet or match notes, which is what he needs to do.
DailyMail.com reached out to an NFL spokesman for comment, but didn’t immediately receive a response.
The NFL is investigating the two officers to determine if their conduct violates the NFLRA’s CBA
Fans on social media reacted differently to the incident – some pointed to the possibility of match notes, others called for punishment.
“The captains have to sign information cards after every game. This is a standard procedure. You’re attacking too harshly on this one,” wrote one Twitter user.
“That would be a bad look if the Bucs won lol,” tweeted another.
One described the interaction as “weird,” while another said, “Man, what the hell is going on.”
Tampa Bay lost Sunday’s game 21-3.
Fans were unsure whether the referees were seeking his signature for a personal keepsake or for the official score sheet as part of typical day-to-day Sunday procedures
The Bucs’ loss came as a major shock in Week 7 and came a week after they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-18.
Evans dropped a wide-open 64-yard touchdown pass on the third play.
“No one’s the only reason you lose, but that was definitely the main reason,” Evans said after the game.
“I have seen how life has left us. It took a while before I could play again. We’re taught to play the next game but it was tough – wide open, one of the best in the game – gotta catch it.
Evans was referring to star quarterback Tom Brady, who let out another battle cry for his team after Sunday’s disappointing loss.
The Bucs fell below .500 just as the Panthers sealed their second win of the season.
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