Meaning Behind Weird Postgame Exchange Between Mike Evans, NFL Referee Revealed

by Dustin Schutte
Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

Turns out, all the outrage about an NFL official allegedly asking for an autograph from Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans was for nothing. In fact, the referee didn’t even ask for a signature.

According to a report from’s Tom Pelissero, the interaction had to do with … golf. Per the report, both Evans and the official, Jeff Lamberth, both attended Texas A&M. Evans gave Lamberth his phone number to pass along to a golf pro.

Apparently, Evans needs some lessons on the links. Don’t we all, Mike, don’t we all.

Sunday, a video captured Evans appearing to give Lamberth an autograph in the tunnel after the game. The Buccaneers lost to the Carolina Panthers 21-3 to drop to 3-4 on the year.

In a statement the NFL released it said Lamberth and another official, Tripp Sutter, “have been reminded of the importance of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety when interacting with players, coaches, and club staff on gameday.”

As Pelissero points out, that likely means there will be no punishment handed out.

Mike Evans, Referee Catch Heat on Social Media

Fans who saw the viral video following Sunday’s Bucs-Panthers game immediately jumped to conclusions. Many said this kind of exchange looked bad for all parties involved, including the NFL.

“I didn’t know refs get autographs after the game,” one social media user wrote.

Another Twitter user pointed out, “This would be a bad look if the Bucs would’ve won.”

Yet another individual on social media said, “This would seem to make an argument that refs can be bias. This is a bad look, NFL.”

It’s probably understood that, what unfolded in the tunnel postgame in Carolina didn’t look good. But there didn’t appear to be anything serious happening in this situation.

You can bet, though, if Evans is the beneficiary of any call moving forward, NFL fans will be quick to bring this video back to light.