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San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson says he was slapped in the face by Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham during batting practice before Friday night’s game over a fantasy football league disagreement.
Speaking after the Reds’ 5-1 victory, Pederson was asked by reporters in the locker room about the situation, which resulted in Pham being benched before the start of the rain-delayed game.
“He kinda came up and said, ‘You remember from last year?’ And I was like, ‘fantasy football?’ and he was like, ‘Yeah.’”
Pederson explained the disagreement happened well over a year ago over a fantasy league the two were in.
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“We were in a fantasy league together. I put somebody — a player — on the injured reserve when they were listed as out 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 the bench.”
Pederson explained that he felt he was within his right in setting up his team for that week and sent a screenshot of the rules to his group chat. He also pointed out that Pham had a similar situation on his team.
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“That was basically all of it, there’s not much more to it,” Pederson said.
Pham allegedly struck Pederson in the left cheek, but Pederson said he didn’t react.
“There was a decent amount of people around,” Pederson said. “I didn’t get emotional. I don’t think violence is the answer, I guess you could say … It was an unfortunate situation over a fantasy football rule. It wasn’t a rule.”
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Sources told The Athletic the Giants requested that Pham not play in the game. The Reds changed their lineup right before the game’s first pitch.