Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham agreed to a three-game suspension after slapping San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson before Friday’s game, he said on Saturday. Pham said the suspension began on Friday night.
“It was regarding my former team. I didn’t like that and I didn’t like the sketchy shit going on in the fantasy,” Pham said on Saturday. We had too much money on the line, so I look at it like there’s a code. You’re fucking with my money, then you’re going to say some disrespectful shit, there’s a code to this.”
The incident occurred during batting practice before Cincinnati’s 5-1 victory at Great American Ball Park.
“He kind of came up and said like ‘you remember from last year?'” Pederson told reporters after the game. “And I was like ‘fantasy football?’ He was like ‘yeah.'”
That, Pederson said, is when Pham slapped him on his left cheek.
Both managers, the Reds’ David Bell and the Giants’ Gabe Kapler, as well as Pham, declined to comment on Friday. MLB said on Friday that it was investigating the matter.
Pham did not participate in Friday’s game, and sources told The Athletic that the Giants requested he not play. Near the end of a two-hour-plus rain delay, the Reds announced Pham agreed not to play Friday pending MLB’s investigation.
The beef, Pederson said, stemmed from a fantasy football argument. According to Pederson, Pham accused Pederson of cheating because he was “stashing players on my bench.” Pederson said he looked up the rules the league used and he was in the right. Disagreements ensued on a group text for the league, which sources told The Athletic includes MLB players from several teams.
Pederson said he didn’t react to the slap and was more surprised than anything. His teammates responded as both teams rushed to left field where the incident occurred.
“There was a decent amount of people around and I didn’t get emotional,” Pederson said. “I don’t think violence is the answer.” Pederson went on to say that “it was an unfortunate situation over a fantasy football league rule that wasn’t a rule.”
Pederson said the two had never spoken in person before Friday.
(Photo: Vaughn Ridley / Getty Images)