Tom Brady has slammed the one-game NFL suspension of Star Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans after the melee between the Saints and the Buccaneers.
The incident came after an incompletion in the third game when Saints defenseman Marshon Lattimore started yelling at Brady.
Evans sprinted in before punching Lattimore down in a display of aggression. The league announced Monday that Evans will be suspended for one game, meaning he will miss the team’s crucial clash with Green Bay on Sunday.
Bucs quarterback Brady was far from happy with the league’s decision, which Evans has appealed.
“I don’t think it deserved any kind of suspension,” Brady said in his weekly Let’s go! Podcast with Jim Gray.
“I find that ridiculous. Hopefully we can get past this and get to a better place
“I don’t think Mike should be blamed and singled out. Unfortunately, he was, and that’s just the reality of life in the NFL.
While Brady may have been unhappy with the end result, he appreciated Evans’ willingness to protect him.
“I think sometimes emotions get the best of us and I love Mike. And the fact that Mike would come out to defend me means everything in the world to me as a teammate and friend,” he said.
“And Mike knows how I feel about him. So emotions are part of sport. Sometimes they boil over and they obviously did (Sunday) and that’s an unfortunate circumstance.’
Evans appealed his one-game ban, which he said is due to be heard on Tuesday Adam Scherter.
Evans’ hearing will be heard by James Thrash – who confirmed the wideout’s suspension in 2017. The NFL and NFLPA 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 “unnecessary running, diving, cutting or throwing of the body against or at a player who is not in the game or should not reasonably be involved anticipated such contact by an opponent before or after the ball is dead.’
He also broke Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1, which prohibits any act contrary to “the generally accepted principles of sportsmanship.”
In a letter to Evans, Jon Runyan, the NFL’s vice president of football operations, wrote: “After a game was over, you walked to your sidelines. Realizing your teammates were engaged in a confrontation with Saints players, you ran to that area of the field and violently threw your body into an unsuspecting opponent who was part of that confrontation, punching him.
“You knocked your opponent to the ground and there was a scuffle involving players from both teams,” continued Runyan, a former NFL offensive lineman. “Your aggressive behavior could have caused serious injury to your opponent and clearly does not reflect the high sporting standards expected of a professional.”
If his suspension is upheld, Evans can return to the active roster after the team’s Sept. 25 game against Green Bay. Meanwhile, if the appeal is successful, Evans will play on Sunday.
While Brady’s verbal back-and-forth with Lattimore started proceedings, Tampa running back Leonard Fournette fanned the flames and got into a shove match with Lattimore before Evans joined the scuffle.
The former A&M wide receiver leveled Lattimore before clashing with several other Saints players. Evans was previously suspended for a game in 2017 for scoring against Lattimore.
“In 2017, I didn’t even get kicked out, and that was really a cheap shot,” Evans said. “It wasn’t that. He punched my teammate in the face and I just pushed him to the ground.
“It gets hot when you get to New Orleans,” Evans told the Tampa Bay Times. “They are a good team, a physical team.
“I just see Lattimore hitting Lee [Fournette] in the face or something and then shoved 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 being filmed clearly shouting at a coach, “That’s Tom Brady! What should I do?’
Tempers spiraled out of control in New Orleans on Sunday and Brady had an outburst of his own during the game.