An MLB outfielder who slapped an opposing team’s own outfielder over a fantasy football argument has reportedly been suspended for three games.
Tommy Pham of the Cincinnati Reds was filmed slapping Joc Pederson of the San Francisco Giants during a batting practice session before a game Friday between their respective teams.
“There was no real argument. He kind of came up and said, ‘You remember from last year?’ And I was like, ‘Fantasy football?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah,'” Pederson later recalled in remarks to the press.
Pham then suddenly slapped him.
A video released showing the pregame altercation between Tommy Pham and Joc Pederson
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 28, 2022
“There was a decent amount of people around and I didn’t get emotional. I don’t think violence is the answer,” Pederson added, explaining why he hadn’t retaliated.
In additional remarks, he went into more detail about the two’s fantasy football squabble.
“[Last year] I put a player on the Injured Reserve when they were listed as out. And added another player. And then there was a text message in the group saying that I was cheating because I was stashing players on my bench, and then, I don’t know, I looked up the rules and sent a screenshot of the rules, how it says that when a player is ruled out, you’re allowed to put him on the IR. That’s all I was doing,” he said.
“It just so happened that [Pham] had a player, Jeff Wilson, who was out, and he had him on the IR, and I said, ‘You literally have the same thing on your bench.’ And then I guess he was in two leagues, and in one of them he was on the IR and in one of them he wasn’t, so maybe that was a confusion, but on the ESPN league we were in, it was listed as out. So I was like, it feels very similar to what I did. And that was basically all of it. There’s not much more to it.”
In other words, Pham thought Pederson was cheating in fantasy football by “stashing players” on his bench.
Joc shares details of what happened in his fantasy football league that started his altercation with Tommy Pham today pic.twitter.com/d9NBTwPVoG
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) May 28, 2022
According to NBC Sports, Pham has told a slightly different tale.
“On Saturday, Pham addressed the incident and told reporters that Pederson made ‘disrespectful’ comments about the San Diego Padres, where he played from 2020-21. Pham also said Pederson was ‘messing with my money,'” the outlet reported.
“I’m a big dog in Vegas. I’m a high roller at many casinos,” Pham reportedly said.
Pham said there was “too much money on the line” and “he was messing with my money”
“I’m a big dog in Vegas. I’m a high roller at many casinos.” https://t.co/atfAOnj6Th
— Evan Webeck (@EvanWebeck) May 28, 2022
Apparently, Pham bets money on fantasy football, and he felt like he was losing money because of Pederson’s actions.
According to MLB, Pederson eventually admitted that there was some truth to Pham’s claim.
“Pederson confirmed Saturday that he sent a GIF making fun of the Padres to the group text chain in September. The GIF featured three weightlifters meant to represent the Giants, Dodgers and Padres. The San Diego lifter collapsed under his own weight, a nod to the way the Padres faded down the stretch last year,” the MLB reported.
“In the group chat, there was more than one Padre — there were probably four or five. I’m kind of close with a couple of them. It was supposed to be a friendly thing. Just making fun of how they were playing bad. He did not like that, and responded, ‘Joc, I don’t know you well enough to make any jokes like this,’” Pederson said.
“I wrote back, ‘It was meant to be all fun and games. No hard feelings. Sorry if you took it that way.’ And then about two weeks later, he ended up leaving the league, and there has been no communication since. It is true, I did send a GIF making fun of the Padres. If I hurt anyone’s feelings, I apologize for that.”
Joc Pederson shows reporters a gif he sent to a group chat making fun of the Padres while they were playing bad. The group chat included Pham and 4-5 other Padres players, some former teammates
“I understand everyone takes jokes differently. I apologize” pic.twitter.com/5eCxZE32ST
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) May 29, 2022
Pederson for his part said he doesn’t plan to play in another fantasy football league with Pham again.
“It’s over, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think I’ll speak to him. I don’t think he wants to speak to me, I would assume. I don’t know. That was, I think, the first time we ever spoke in person. It was a weird interaction and unfortunate. You show up here, and it was hard to lock back in. It was a tough day,” he said.
He added that the slap turned out to be a distraction for his team, which wound up losing to the Reds 0-1.
“We haven’t been playing great as a team and then we lose a game. We’re scuffling a little bit, so that just makes things worse. This is an added distraction. You want to eliminate those as much as possible, because this game is so hard,” he said.
“Like I said, we lost and it feels like what happened was unfortunate, but it was still a big distraction to other guys around here. We didn’t play a good game tonight, so if I had something to do with that for being a distraction, then that makes me feel really bad, because I’m here to help this team win, not to be a distraction.”
As previously reported, Pham has been suspended for three games because of the slap.
“The three-game suspension began Friday, so Pham will miss the remainder of San Francisco’s series at Great American Ball Park,” according to NBC Sports.
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