Tommy Pham beating Joc Pederson for Fantasy Football is Sports Story of the Year

In the last 36 hours or so, a truly incredible sports meat has been unveiled. Giants outfielder Joc Pederson and Reds outfielder Tommy Pham are the main players, and every sentence you’re about to read will have you nodding harder and harder. Before Friday’s game between the Reds and the Giants, Pham Pederson approached and punched him on the field. After the game, Pederson told reporters he was slapped because Pham felt he cheated in a fantasy football league they were both in last year. Speaking to reporters ahead of Saturday’s game, Pham claimed he delivered the slap because Pederson “said some shit I don’t condone.” After Saturday’s game, Pederson revealed the shit Pham couldn’t seem to approve of: a teasing GIF about the San Diego Padres (the team Pham played on last season) that he shared in the Fantasy League group chat.

Obviously you want more detail, and I’ve got plenty to share once you’re done cackling at the skies. First, let’s take a look at the slap itself:

That’s a pretty meaty slap in the face!

Now let’s move on to Pederson’s comments from Friday, which marked the first time in history someone has shared a story about their fantasy football league that everyone else really wanted to hear. What was the “cheating” that Pederson was involved in that infuriated Pham? According to Pederson’s almost unbelievably detailed explanation, Pham was confused about how the injured reserve slots work in fantasy football.

“I put a player on injured reserve when he was considered out,” Pederson explained. “And added another player. And then there was a text message in the group that I was cheating because I was hiding players on my bench and then, I don’t know, I looked up the rules and sent a screenshot of the rules as it says when a player gets banned , you may add him to the IR. That’s all I did. It was just that he had a player, Jeff Wilson, who was out and he had him on IR and I said, “You literally have the same thing on your bench.” And then he was probably in two leagues and one of them he was in IR and one wasn’t so maybe that was a confusion but in the ESPN league that we were in it was listed as off. So I thought it felt very similar to what I did. And that was basically all. There’s not much more to it.”

This description of events somehow embarrasses Pham even more than the fact that he tried to hit someone. Does this guy have no idea how the basic rules of fantasy football work? Why was he wasting an IR slot on Jeff Wilson? And I have to say, as a veteran of multiple controversies in fantasy sports leagues, I can only shake my head in disgust that Pham chose this particular fight. Crazy about IR placements? Get out. Come talk to me if you’ve had multiple heated engagements in a 53-reply email thread because a guy in your league traded Larry Walker to someone else for a $22 Taco Bell. I was about 12 years old when this happened. This is baby stuff.

Perhaps with the aim of diverting the conversation from how bad he is at fantasy football, Pham claimed Saturday that it was actually some inappropriate comments Pederson made that prompted the slap. He also made sure to tell everyone what a high roller he is:

Thankfully, this just gave Pederson another opportunity to go into great detail about what really happened. After Saturday’s game, Pederson huddled with reporters again, and this time he called up the fantasy football group chat he and Pham were in together and read aloud what was being said. You really need to watch this whole clip because I promise you won’t see anything funnier this year than Pederson sheepishly holding up his phone to show everyone a silly shit post – “It was like three weightlifters … lifting …” – finally he got a slap in the face.

What a moment. What a sport.

Above all, we have to thank Pederson for his candor. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a professional athlete offer such thorough explanations on any subject. Pederson could easily have kept his lips to the whole thing and had us all looking for crumbs of information to chat with, but instead he went straight out and said without a hint of irony, “It’s true, I sent a GIF , which makes fun of the Padres.”

Also, we have to conclude that Tommy Pham is a total idiot. That slap got him suspended for three games, and now everyone who doesn’t have a sense of humor and doesn’t understand how fantasy sports works will remember him as the “big dog in Vegas.” Quite a legacy to forge for yourself over the course of a weekend.

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