When Mike Evans was suspended one game by the NFL for his role in the Buccaneers vs. Saints brawl, a certain subset of fans broke out their tin foil hats.
Evans was set to miss Tampa Bay’s Week 3 game against the Packers as a result of his suspension. The discipline was dealt to him by Jon Runyan, the NFL’s Vice President of the Policy and Rules administration.
Runyan’s son — Jon Runyan Jr. — plays for the Packers. So, naturally, the conclusion was that Ruyan Sr. had given Evans the one-game ban in an effort to help his son’s team win against what is thought to be one of the NFC’s best squads.
The younger Runyan has heard the chatter about this theory; he has had one message for those questioning whether his father should preside over the suspension.
“He was just doing his job,” Runyan Jr. said Wednesday, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “He’s been doing that job for over a half-decade now. It just so happens that we’re playing the Buccaneers this week. Everybody’s trying to make it this conspiracy theory, which it’s not.”
Indeed, the elder Runyan has been in his current role with the NFL since 2016. He took on that position after serving as one of the New Jersey representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011 through 2015.
During his time in the NFL, Runyan has overseen numerous suspensions. That’s why his son isn’t worried about those bandying conspiracy theories regarding Evans’ brief ban.
The younger Runyan also believes Evans’ actions against Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore warranted some type of discipline.
“My dad’s doing his job,” Runyan Jr. said. “[It was a] lapse in judgment on the field. Sometimes, that stuff happens. There’s a whole conspiracy theory going down, and it’s not true. That’s just how it goes. You can’t be running 15 yards trying to head-hunt somebody when the play’s over. It is funny, though, how stuff works out sometimes.”
Certainly, his father agrees. So did James Thrash, who heard Evans’ appeal and upheld Runyan’s original ruling.