Being a referee in the NFL is quite an accomplishment. There are around 120 referees leaguewide, and they’ve all had to climb up the ranks of high school, small college, large college and then the NFL. They’re paid well, too. The average official makes $205,000, according to USA Today. That’s not bad for 18 regular season games.
Of course, they have to follow some rules. Aside from the obvious fact they can’t be biased toward certain teams or players, they definitely cannot seek out autographs, pictures, etc. There was a serious breach of that protocol in Sunday’s Tampa Bay Bucaneers-Carolina Panthers game.
Players were seen signing autographs for referees after the game
Following the Panthers’ 21-3 shock win over the Bucs, a video surfaced of an embarrassing situation involving members of the Bucs and the refs.
Look, we are all football fans. But autograph seeking, even if in the tunnel, cannot be tolerated. SJ Jeff Lamberth (21st season) and LJ Tripp Sutter (4) know better. This may be the last season for Lamberth, but that's no excuse to cross a line like thispic.twitter.com/CboOAH3Jr8
— Fᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ Zᴇʙʀᴀs🇺🇦 (@footballzebras) October 24, 2022
Yikes, that is a terrible look for everyone involved, including the players.
Here’s another short video.
— Sheena Quick (@Sheena_Marie3) October 23, 2022
People are pretty upset about this, as they should be.
You can see him at the end notice the camera pointed at him and his face changes fast
— Joe Corica (@JumboCorica) October 24, 2022
Even in the scenario below, this is not the way to go about it.
This can’t happen unless they’re getting it for a handicapped kid out something like that. Horrible look!
— Chris Short (@Short58C) October 24, 2022
The ref who asked Mike Evans for an autograph should be fired plain and simple
— Eric Avissar (@EricAvissar) October 24, 2022
But, there are other theories on what was going on.
Someone posted that it wasn't an autograph, that the official needed a team captain to sign a note card. Not sure I buy that (what's a note card that needs a team captain's signature)?
— Adam Simoneau 🧢⬆️ (@AyJaySimon) October 24, 2022
I’m certain we will hear more about this. It may be a nothingburger. But, if they were indeed asking for autographs, there will be negative repercussions.