The NFL is looking into side judge Jeff Lamberth and line judge Tripp Sutter asking for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans’ autograph following the Panthers-Buccaneers Week 7 game, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The NFL is reviewing the incident involving side judge Jeff Lamberth and line judge Tripp Sutter, I’m told.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 24, 2022
The NFL-NFLRA CBA specifically says game officials “shall not… ask players, coaches or any other team personnel for autographs or memorabilia.” pic.twitter.com/2suFfK3MWL
Pelissero tweets that the NFL-NFLPA CBA specifically says game officials “shall not… ask players, coaches or any other team personnel for autographs or memorabilia.”
We would expect the officials to face some kind of punishment, while Evans appears to very much be an innocent bystander here. Evans already missed a game this season for his involvement in a fight on the field.
No matter the innocent nature of the officials requesting an autograph, any sign of preference for one side or the other will be harshly criticized, especially by rabid fans. After the Panthers stunned the Panthers 21-3, it would be hard to make a case that the officials were favoring the Buccaneers in this one.