Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has been suspended for one game without pay in relation to an on-field incident that took place during his team's 20-10 win against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2, the NFL announced in a news release on Monday (September 19).
The league cited "violations of unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules" in relation to an incident in which Evans shoved Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore to the ground after Lattimore was seen arguing with Bucs quarterback Tom Brady and trading shoves with Bucs running back Leonard Fournette.
NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan issued a statement clarifying the league's decision to suspend Evans, which cited that the wide receiver violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8(g), which prohibits “unnecessarily running, diving into, cutting, or throwing the body against or on a player who is out of the play or should not have reasonably anticipated such contact by an opponent, before or after ball is dead,” as well as Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 which prohibits any act which is “contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship.”
The incident took place during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game.
Evans was walking toward the sideline when he turned back and saw Brady and Fournette engaged in an altercation with Lattimore and Saints teammate Marcus Maye.
Evans and Lattimore were previously involved an on-field in 2017 after then-Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston -- who now plays for the Saints -- pushed Lattimore in the back of his helmet, which led to an altercation that resulted in Evans interjecting and tackling Lattimore.
"You knocked your opponent to the ground and a melee ensued involving players from both teams," Runyan said in a statement shared on behalf of the NFL. "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."
Evans and Lattimore were both ejected in relation to the incident on Sunday.