What looked like a friendly game of charity kickball instead turned into the next chapter of the Julio Jones-Atlanta Falcons saga, complete with an NFC South rival taking a jab at the Falcons, then deleting the tweet.
And perhaps flirting with tampering?
Jones, the Falcons’ All-Pro wide receiver who has been noticeably absent from team OTAs, attended Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s charity kickball game Friday in Charlotte, N.C.
The appearance raised some eyes as Jones has spent the offseason avoiding Falcons facilities and activities, deleting all references to the team from his social media accounts, and telling people there is no bad blood between him and the team. All this while he reportedly desires a new contract.
Then the Panthers raised even more eyebrows by making sure the Falcons knew where their star receiver was, posting a tweet that was soon deleted.
The tweet, which reportedly showed Jones and Newton posing together in T-shirts that read “Kicking It with Cam” (the name of the tournament), included the caption “Julio says hi” and tweeted at the Falcons’ official Twitter feed.
One reason the Panthers may have deleted the tweet? Perhaps a fear of tampering, as first pointed out by For The Win. According to NFL.com, league rules prevent “any interference by a member club with the employer-employee relationship of another club or any attempt by a club to impermissibly induce a person to seek employment with that club or with the NFL.”
The Falcons have yet to publicly respond to the tweet.
—Field Level Media