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The NFL Is Investigating Two Refs Asking Mike Evans For His Autograph After Bucs-Panthers

Every fan base in every sport shares one belief, and that is that the referees are out to get them.

Smaller market teams are convinced there’s a grand conspiracy against them to help the big guys, while big market teams think the refs hate them like the majority of other fans. It is one of the main roles of officials, to be the scapegoats because it’s easier to blame outside undue influence rather than the truth, which is usually that your favorite team wasn’t as good.

However, because of this, officials have to be very careful about doing anything that could lead to the belief that they would be bias on the field or court. That’s why video of a pair of officials appearing to ask Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans for his autograph after the Bucs dismal loss to the Panthers on Sunday raised some eyebrows and also sparked an NFL investigation into the matter.

We’ll learn the exact context of all of this after the investigation concludes, but it’s safe to say this isn’t a good look no matter what — and is why the “no asking for autographs” rule is in place. Now, given the Bucs lost in rather spectacular fashion to the Panthers as 13-point favorites, it’s pretty clear there wasn’t a lot of referee influence on the game, but you can’t have officials chasing down players in the tunnel to get them to sign something.