Skip to contents
Life's Rich Pageant

Tommy Pham Slapping Joc Pederson Over Fantasy Football Is The Sports Story Of The Year

Screenshot: NBC Sports Bay Area

Over the last 36 hours or so, a truly incredible sports beef has been revealed. Giants outfielder Joc Pederson and Reds outfielder Tommy Pham are the principals, and each successive sentence that you are about to read will cause you to nod more and more vigorously. Before Friday’s game between the Reds and Giants, Pham approached Pederson on the field and slapped him. After the game, Pederson told reporters that he got slapped because Pham felt like he had cheated in a fantasy football league they were both in last year. Before Saturday’s game, Pham spoke to reporters and claimed that he fired the slap because Pederson had “said some shit I don’t condone.” After Saturday’s game, Pederson revealed the shit Pham apparently couldn’t condone: a teasing GIF about the San Diego Padres (the team Pham was on last season) that he had shared in the fantasy league’s group chat.

Obviously you want more details, and I have plenty to share once you have finished cackling at the sky. First let us take a look at the slap itself:

That’s a pretty meaty slap!

Now let us move on to Pederson’s comments from Friday, which marked the first time in history that anyone has ever told a story about their fantasy football league that anyone else actually wanted to hear. What was the “cheating” that Pederson had engaged in that got Pham slapping mad? 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 the Injured Reserve when they were listed as out,” Pederson explained. “And added another player. And then there was a text message in the group saying that I was cheating because I was stashing players on my bench, and then, I don’t know, I looked up the rules and sent a screenshot of the rules, how it says that when a player is ruled out, you’re allowed to put him on the IR. That’s all I was doing. It just so happened that he had a player, Jeff Wilson, who was out, and he had him on the IR, and I said, ‘You literally have the same thing on your bench.’ And then I guess he was in two leagues, and in one of them he was on the IR and in one of them he wasn’t, so maybe that was a confusion, but on the ESPN league we were in, it was listed as out. So I was like, it feels very similar to what I did. And that was basically all of it. There’s not much more to it.”

This description of events is somehow even more embarrassing for Pham than the fact that he tried to slap 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 must say, as a veteran of multiple fantasy sports league controversies, I can only shake my head in disgust at Pham choosing this particular battle. You’re mad about IR placements? Get out of here. Come talk to me when you’ve had multiple heated engagements on a 53-reply email thread because one guy in your league traded Larry Walker to another guy in exchange for $22 worth of Taco Bell. I was like 12 years old when that happened. This is baby stuff.

Perhaps aiming to shift the conversation away from how bad he is at fantasy football, Pham followed up on Saturday by claiming that it was actually some inappropriate comments that Pederson had made that elicited the slap. He also made sure to tell everyone what a high roller he is:

Thankfully, this just provided Pederson another opportunity to go into great detail about what really happened. After Saturday’s game, Pederson once again huddled up with reporters, and this time he pulled up the fantasy football group chat that he and Pham were in together and read out loud what was said. You really need to watch this entire clip, because I promise you will not see anything else this year that will be funnier than Pederson sheepishly holding up his phone to show everyone a goofy shitpost—”It was like three weightlifters… lifting…”—that eventually got him slapped.

What a moment. What a sport.

Above all else, we must thank Pederson for his candor. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pro athlete offer this thorough of an explanation about any topic. Pederson could have easily stayed tightlipped about the whole thing and left us all scrounging for crumbs of information with which to entertain ourselves, but instead he went right out there and said, without a hint of irony, “It is true, I did send a GIF making fun of the Padres.”

Additionally, we are forced to conclude that Tommy Pham is a total loon. That slap got him suspended for three games, and now everyone is going to remember as the “big dog in Vegas” who has no sense of humor and doesn’t understand how fantasy sports works. Quite a legacy to forge for yourself over the course of one weekend.