Mike Evans will not be taking the field for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Evans was suspended for one game for his role in a brawl with New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore in their Week 2 matchup. Evans appealed, but the suspension was upheld.
Jon Runyan, the NFL’s vice president of football operations, said in a news release Evans was suspended for violating the league’s rules regarding unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct.
“After a play had ended, you were walking toward your sidelines. When you noticed your teammates engaged in a confrontation with Saints’ players, you ran toward that area on the field and violently threw your body into and struck an unsuspecting opponent who was part of that confrontation. You knocked your opponent to the ground and a melee ensued involving players from both teams. Your aggressive conduct could have caused serious injury to your opponent and clearly does not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional,” Runyan wrote in his letter to Evans.
However, Runyan’s letter to Evans did little to quell any conspiracy theories about the suspension as Runyan’s son plays for Green Bay.
Jon Runyan Jr. shot down any notion there was something else at play.
“He was just doing his job. He’s been doing that job for over a half-decade now. It just so happens that we’re playing the Buccaneers this week. Everybody’s trying to make it this conspiracy theory, which it’s not,” he said, via ESPN.
James Thrash was the appeal officer who upheld the suspension.
“My dad’s doing his job,” Runyan Jr. added. “[It was a] lapse in judgment on the field. Sometimes, that stuff happens. There’s a whole conspiracy theory going down, and it’s not true. That’s just how it goes. You can’t be running 15 yards trying to head-hunt somebody when the play’s over. It is funny, though, how stuff works out sometimes.”
Runyan Jr., an offensive lineman, was a sixth-round draft pick by the Packers in 2020. He played collegiate football at Michigan.
Runyan Sr. has been the NFL’s vice president of football operations since 2016. He was a Pro Bowler in 2002 and spent most of his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. He also played for the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Oilers/Titans and the San Diego Chargers.