In his first extended interview about slapping San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson, Tommy Pham said he has no regrets about his actions even though he could have faced legal repercussions.
Speaking to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, Pham said the Giants "were talking about pressing charges" as a result of the incident.
"I’m like, 'Go ahead. Assault for a slap? OK. People do way worse," he added.
Pham also noted Major League Baseball threatened him with a suspension of eight to 10 games if he didn't accept an immediate three-game ban that kept him out for the entire series between the Giants and Cincinnati Reds.
The slap has become one of the biggest stories of the 2022 MLB season. It occurred during pregame warm-ups on May 27 when Pham and Pederson appeared to be talking in the outfield, during which Pham struck the Giants outfielder in the face.
Pederson told reporters after the game the altercation stemmed from a dispute over injured-reserve rules in a 2021 fantasy football league they played in:
In response to those comments, Pham told reporters the next day that Pederson also "said some disrespectful s--t in a text message" about the San Diego Padres when Pham was on their roster last season.
After the second game of the Giants-Reds series on May 28, Pederson pulled out his phone to show reporters old texts he exchanged with Pham in a group chat and the GIF he used that apparently set off the 34-year-old.
In his interview with Nightengale, Pham noted he has been waiting a long time to get a chance to slap Pederson.
"I would have slapped him last year if I saw him," Pham said. "He knew that. Everyone knew that."
Pham added: "There were about 100 people that thanked me after I slapped him."
Despite his anger at Pederson over the situation, Pham did have a sense of humor about other aspects of the fantasy league. He told reporters that Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout, who was the league's commissioner, "did a terrible job" because he "allowed a lot of (stuff) to go on, and he could’ve solved it all."
Trout, while wearing a microphone during Sunday's game against the New York Mets, said on the ESPN broadcast (h/t Dave Clark of the Cincinnati Enquirer) that Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman won the league.
MLB issued Pham a three-game suspension retroactive to May 27, keeping him out for the entire series against Pederson and the Giants.
Pham, who spent two seasons with the Padres from 2020 to 2021, signed a one-year deal with the Reds in March.
The Padres collapsed in the second half last season because of a number of injuries and poor performances. They went 26-43 after the All-Star break and finished third in the NL West. The Giants (107-55) beat out the Dodgers (106-56) by one game to win the division title.