On Thursday, New York Giants offensive lineman Evan Neal issued another apology for his recent comments directed at Giants fans, which he made earlier this week in response to the team’s challenging start to the season.
Following the Giants’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, Neal made gestures towards Giants fans as he exited the field. Subsequently, on Wednesday, he referred to them as “bandwagoners” and “fair-weather” fans. These comments were prompted by the frustration of Giants fans due to the team’s disappointing 1-3 season start, characterized by three significant losses.
Additionally, Neal took a dig at fans who had criticized him, insinuating that they were akin to fast-food workers.
In his recent apology, Neal expressed regret for his previous statements and acknowledged the disappointment and frustration that Giants fans are experiencing. He expressed a desire to mend the relationship with the fanbase and acknowledged that such comments were inappropriate.
“I genuinely don’t care. Why should I? I’m in the National Football League,” he said. “The person that’s commenting on my performance, what does he do? Flip hot dogs and hamburgers somewhere?”
After issuing an apology on social media Wednesday night, Neal offered another apology on Thursday.
“I’m remorseful. I definitely could’ve used a better choice of words,” Neal said, via the NFL Network. “Coming from humble beginnings myself. I never want to belittle anyone, regardless of their financial status or their occupation. So I really just want to apologize for what I said.
“I want the fans to know that I’m human, just like everyone else. If you ask anyone that’s ever been around me, they always speak highly of me. Nobody’s perfect, including myself.”
The Giants selected Neal as the No. 7 overall pick in the previous year’s draft. Among the 71 offensive tackles in the league this season, Neal’s performance ranks 68th according to PFF. While he’s credited with allowing just one sack in four games, he has yielded 20 pressures, a statistic tied for the highest in the NFL.
Apart from a comeback victory against the Arizona Cardinals, the Giants’ offensive performance as a team has been dismal. They have yet to score a first-half touchdown this season and have been outscored by a combined 79 points in their three losses. The recent 24-3 loss to the Seahawks was particularly one-sided, and at one point in the game, Neal inadvertently blocked his own teammate, allowing Seahawks linebacker Derick Hall a clear path to rush quarterback Daniel Jones and force an interception.
Neal, currently 23 years old, is in the second year of his original four-year, $24.5 million contract.
When asked about Neal on Thursday, Giants running back Saquon Barkley expressed his pride in Neal for offering an apology.
“The advice I would give to him and any other teammate, never pick a battle with the fans,” Barkley said, via SNY. “You’re never going to win that one. They’ve been here before us, and they’re going to be here after us. That’s the truth.”
Giants head coach Brian Daboll had a conversation with Neal ahead of Thursday’s practice and conveyed that both of them were prepared to move past the incident. It’s anticipated that Neal will take the starting role in Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
“I know he was very remorseful, regretful for the comment that he made,” Daboll said, via ESPN. “And we’re moving on … He was frustrated. He made a poor choice, poor decision. I’d say poor comments. He acknowledged that. And moving on.”
A single victory is all it will require, and this entire incident will fade from memory.