NFL Fans Are Furious At Ref For Asking Mike Evans For Autograph, But They Shouldn't Be

Following the Carolina Panthers' drumming of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, a ref was caught on video asking Bucs' wide receiver Mike Evans for an autograph. Most fans blew the scene out of proportion and were furious seeing a ref ask a player for their signature. But, at the end of the day, it's really not a big deal.

Sheena Quick, a Panthers beat writer, was the one who shared the video on Twitter where fans quickly shared their reaction.

Here is a look at the typical reaction fans shared on Twitter after seeing the video. Some fans even called for these refs to lose their jobs.

First and foremost, Evans deserves a shoutout for stopping and signing what looks to be some sort of referee note sheet. While he had nine catches for 96 yards on Sunday, his team was embarrassed by a lowly Panthers team. It's cool to see professional athletes take 10 seconds to sign something after a disappointing loss.


Secondly, by Evans' own reaction, it's evident that this sort of thing happens all the time. He happily grabbed the official's pen and signed the sheet for him. Also, it's not like the ref asked for Evans' autograph while still standing on the field. He waited until they got in the tunnel, but a beat writer just so happened to catch the exchange.

The particular side judge in the video appears to be Jeff Lamberth who is in his 20th NFL season. He could very well be retiring at the end of the year after putting in two decades of work. Regardless, an official who has been in the league for that long understands protocols.

Even if he did break some sort of bogus rule implemented by the NFL, him getting a player's signature after a game outside of the public eye as a keepsake for his 20th season isn't a conflict of interest or even a noteworthy situation.

Evans signing a piece of paper for a side judge isn't going to change the outcome of a football game.

UPDATE: According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the NFL is investigating the exchange between Evans and the official.

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Mark covers all sports at OutKick while keeping a close eye on the world of professional golf. He graduated from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga before earning his master's degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee. He somehow survived living in Knoxville despite ‘Rocky Top’ being his least favorite song ever written. Before joining OutKick, he wrote for various outlets including SB Nation, The Spun, and BroBible. Mark was also a writer for the Chicago Cubs Double-A affiliate in 2016 when the team won the World Series. He's still waiting for his championship ring to arrive. Follow him on Twitter @itismarkharris.