Reds’ Tommy Pham Slaps Giants’ Joc Pederson ‘Will Smith-Style’ Over Fantasy Football Disagreement

by Bryan Fyalkowski

Some absolutely weird news came across the wire on Friday night before Cincinnati and San Francisco faced off at Great American Ball Park. Reds’ outfielder Tommy Pham slapped Giants’ outfielder Joc Pederson “Will Smith-style” during batting practice and was scratched from the lineup.

Even weirder, Pham was driven to it because of a disagreement the two had while in a fantasy football league group text together. Seriously.

Cincinnati beat San Francisco that night by a score of 5-1, but the result was the least concerning thing on everyone’s minds. We wanted to know more about this incredible backstory.

Pederson spoke with the media following the game and confirmed that the reports were true. Pederson said it all began when he put a player on injured reserve when he was listed as out and added another player. It was then that Pham accused him of “cheating” in the group text because he was “stashing players” on his bench.

Pederson sent a screenshot of the league rules showing that was a legal move, and then looked at Pham’s roster and saw the exact same situation, a player listed as out on the injured reserve. Got him.

In the other clubhouse, Pham was interviewed and commented that Pederson said “disrespectful s—“ about his former team – the San Diego Padres – and “f—–d” with his money.

It All Started With an Innocent .gif

The next day, Pederson was asked to go more in-depth about what was said in the group text beyond the disagreement about the injured reserve rule.

“It’s true, I did send a .gif in the group chat that made fun of the Padres … In the group chat there were maybe four or five Padres – I’m kind of close with most of them – and it was supposed to be a friendly thing.”

Pederson said he was poking fun at the Padres because they had a 59-42 record in July of 2021 but finished the campaign on a 20-41 slide to finish 79-83 and miss the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers finished 107-55 and 106-56, respectively, to top the NL West division.

Pederson showed the .gif to reporters in the locker room. It depicted three weightlifters with team logos above each one. The San Francisco and Los Angeles weightlifters were able to lift up the weight, while the Padres weightlifter fell over.

Pham was seemingly so offended by Pederson’s antics that he left the league only a few weeks into the NFL season.

“They were a really good team, so it was kind of making fun of how they were not playing well enough to make the playoffs with a very talented team,” Pederson explained. “It was supposed to be light-hearted and I understand that everyone takes jokes differently. I apologize for that and I’m looking to move past this.”

Law and Order and Fantasy Football

Pham was suspended by MLB for the final two games of the weekend series and fined an undisclosed amount for making the altercation physical.

Note that both Pederson and Pham are making $6 million in salary with their respective clubs this season. So in a fantasy football league with other MLB players, the dues and payouts have to be astronomical.

That being said, was violence the answer? Probably not. But did it provide the sports world with some A+ entertainment over the weekend? Absolutely so.