“Yeah, it happened.” Joc Pederson is slapped for fantasy football.


When fights occur in professional sports, it can take years for the facts to come to light. Rumors will swirl, bits and pieces will be attributed to anonymous sources, and years later those involved will finally explain what happened.

In the case of Friday slap heard around baseballhowever, fans just had to wait for Joc Pederson to head to the clubhouse following the San Francisco Giants’ 5-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.

Pederson, a Giants outfielder, confirmed what The Athletic had reported and social media had been buzzing about: Tommy Pham, a Reds outfielder, slapped him before the game for a fantasy football trade Pederson says he made over a year ago. Not really.

“Yeah, it happened,” Pederson said when asked directly about the slap.

On Saturday, Major League Baseball responded to the incident by suspending Pham for three games, retroactive to Friday. Pham told reporters in Cincinnati, including C. Trent Rosencrans of The Athletic, that he would accept the suspension. Pham said that Pederson was cheating and, moreover, made “disrespectful” comments about the San Diego Padres, Pham’s former team.

The slap was part of an unusual series of events for the Giants. Earlier today, manager Gabe Kapler wrote a blog post about gun violence and then announced he would not be taking the field for the national anthem until further notice.

The slap happened in left field just before the game, and led to a disagreement between the teams over whether Pham should be allowed to play. And in the eighth inning, there was further confusion when Kapler called reliever Jake McGee, only to be informed that McGee had been mistakenly left on that day’s roster card, thus rendering him ineligible for to play.

Violence between Pham and Pederson is not unheard of in the sport. Charles Oakley, a killer NBA player for multiple teams, has confirmed over the years that he hit a whole slew of players, including Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen – Pippen was Oakley’s teammate at the time – and he once attacked Tyrone Hill in a shootout over a gambling debt.

But Friday’s incident stood out simply for the level of detail Pederson was willing to offer afterward.

When asked what happened, Pederson explained that he and Pham were playing fantasy football together. More than a year ago, Pederson said there was a disagreement over a trade he made in which he moved a player who was on the injured list. He said a text sent to a group chat for the league accused him of cheating to “hide” players on his bench. He did not directly say that Pham had sent the message.

“I looked at the rules and sent a screenshot of the rules, how it says when a player is kicked you are allowed to put them on the IR, and that’s all I was doing,” said Pederson.

Pederson expressed confusion that Pham was upset about the move; he said Pham executed a similar transaction with his own roster, going so far as to offer who the player in question was with Pham’s team.

“He happened to have a player, Jeff Wilson, who was out, and he had him on the IR,” Pederson said. “I said ‘you literally have the same thing on your bench.'”

Pederson said Friday’s incident didn’t have much preparation. Pham approached him, asked if he remembered the problem, Pederson confirmed he did, and Pham slapped him on the cheek.

Pederson said he chose not to retaliate.

“I didn’t get emotional and I don’t think violence is the answer,” he said. “So I kind of left the situation.”

Pham, who received an undisclosed fine in addition to the suspension, will be eligible to return for Cincinnati’s two-game series against the Boston Red Sox, which begins Tuesday.


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