Tommy Pham of the Cincinnati Reds suspended three games for slapping Joc Pederson of the San Francisco Giants

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham said on Saturday he accepted a three-game suspension for slapping San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson on the cheek for a fantasy football argument before Friday’s game. .

MLB said Pham was suspended for “inappropriate conduct” and was also fined. The suspension was retroactive to Friday and runs through Sunday, when the Reds’ streak with the Giants ends in Cincinnati.

On Friday, Pham had faced and hit Pederson as the Giants warmed up in the outfield. The couple had to be separated.

Pham said on Saturday the dispute stemmed from an old text sent by Pederson to the fantasy league group chat in which Pham says Pederson disrespected his teammates at the San Diego Padres, for whom he played last season. .

“I slapped Joc,” Pham told reporters on Saturday. “He said some bullshit that I don’t tolerate. I had to respond to it.

“…It was about my old team [Padres]. I didn’t like that and I didn’t like the sketchy s—s that happened in the fantasy. We had too much money at stake, so I’m looking at it like there’s a code. You fuck with my money, so you gon’ talk disrespectful bullshit; there’s a code to that.”

Pederson acknowledged to reporters Saturday that “there was a lot of money at stake” and said Pham was telling the truth.

An outspoken Pederson even showed reporters the GIF he sent teasing the Padres players who were in the chat group about their on-court struggles over the past season. Pederson was with the Atlanta Braves at the time and Pham was playing for San Diego.

“In the group chat there were also some – there was more than one Padre, there were four or five, I’m pretty close to a few of them,” Pederson said. “It was supposed to be a friendly thing, just making fun of them playing badly, and just talking back and forth. And yeah, [Pham] didn’t like it and he replied, ‘Joc, I don’t know you well enough to make jokes like this.’

Pederson read on his cell phone to reporters what he replied.

“‘It was supposed to be fun and fun. No hard feelings. Sorry if you took it that way.’ And then about two weeks later, after week 4 or 5, he ended up leaving the league and there’s been no communication since,” Pederson said. “Like I said, it’s true that I sent a GIF mocking the Padres and if I hurt anyone’s feelings, I apologize.

“Because they were a really good team. So it was kind of making fun of how they weren’t playing well to make the playoffs with a really talented team,” he explained. “I mean, I was teammates with some of them and it was supposed to be lighthearted, and I understand everyone takes jokes differently. So like I said, I apologize for that. , and I’m looking to get past that and show up tomorrow with no distractions and try to help this team win a football game.”

Reds manager David Bell said he spoke to Pham about what happened but refused to share what he said.

“I just want to make sure we’re ready to play a baseball game today,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “Joc handled the situation very well. You can always talk about being non-reactionary. He was able to handle everything that happened.”

On Friday, Pederson said he was charged with cheating for placing a player on injured reserve and replacing him with a free agent in a fantasy football league. Pederson said the player he put on IR was ruled out for this week, making it a legal move. He said Pham performed essentially the same maneuver with his own team.

Pederson said he was not told that Pham might face him during the series in Cincinnati.

“It was a surprise,” Pederson told reporters on Friday. “There was no real argument. He came over and said, ‘Like, I don’t know if you remember last year. And I was like, ‘Fantasy football.’ He was like, ‘Yeah.'”

Pham threatened violence to settle a score on the field with San Diego’s Luke Voit in April, challenging the slugger to a fight after Voit injured Reds receiver Tyler Stephenson with a hard, ugly slide into the house.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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