Giants lineman rips fans amid struggles, wonders whether they ‘flip hot dogs and hamburgers somewhere’

The New York Giants’ offensive line’s play has been a hot topic and target of criticism for years now, and that remains the case through the first quarter of the 2023 season. 

Evan Neal, the 2022 NFL Draft’s seventh overall pick and right tackle for the Giants, spoke after practice Wednesday after another abysmal offensive performance by New York Monday night in a 24-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. 

Neal was seen at halftime at MetLife Stadium motioning to the crowd, and though it looked like he was flipping the bird to fans, he explained what he was actually doing. 

“They were booing us, so I said, ‘Boo louder!’” Neal told NJ Advance Media Wednesday. 

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Evan Neal looks exasperated on field

Evan Neal of the New York Giants against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium Sept. 10, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The offensive line was, once again, a key factor in the Giants’ struggles on offense in a primetime game. Quarterback Daniel Jones was sacked 11 times, making it 22 already on the season, the second most in the league behind only Washington Commanders rookie signal-caller Sam Howell. 

Neal has been criticized for his play. He’s allowed 20 quarterback pressures in four weeks, per Pro Football Focus, and the outlet gave him an overall grade of 42.5, which is not close to the average tackle. Neal finished with a 44.1 grade in his rookie season.

Neal’s performance has prompted fans to compare him to 2015 draft bust Ereck Flowers of the Giants. But Neal doesn’t care. 

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“Why would a lion concern himself with the opinion of a sheep?” he told NJ Advance Media. “The person that’s commenting on my performance, what does he do? Flip hot dogs and hamburgers somewhere?”

Neal continued to take shots at the fans, explaining why he wants them to boo louder at the team. 

Evan Neal runs off field

Evan Neal of the New York Giants after a game against the Arizona Cardinals and at State Farm Stadium Sept. 17, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. (Michael Owens/Getty Images)

“Because that just further shows that people are fair-weather,” he said. “A lot of fans are bandwagoners. I mean, I get it: They want to see us perform well. And I respect all of that. But no one wants us to perform well more than we do.

“And how can you say you’re really a fan when we’re out there battling our asses off — and the game wasn’t going well — but the best you can do is boo your home team? So, how much of a fan are you, really?”

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Neal asked a reporter if it would “upset you if someone that’s a fan of you is booing you as you’re typing out your articles?”

Neal also mentioned that, while he isn’t much of a social media user, he does see what people say about him.

“I genuinely don’t care,” he said.

Evan Neal runs off field

Evan Neal of the New York Giants runs off the field at halftime at Levi’s Stadium Sept. 21, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

“Most critics really don’t understand the game of football to the level that we understand it in this building,” he explained. “So, why would a lion concern himself with the opinion of a sheep? I’m just going to focus on Evan — and getting better. I honestly do not care what anybody has to say about Evan Neal because they’re going to talk anyway.”

After the obvious backlash that came with this from Giants fans, Neal took to social media to apologize for the “unnecessary distraction” that was caused by his comments. 

“I am wrong for lashing out at the fans who are just as passionate and frustrated as I am,” Neal wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “I let my frustrations in my play + desire to win get the best of me. I had no right to make light of anyone’s job and I deeply regret the things I said. 

“We are working day in and day out to grow as a team and this was an unnecessary distraction. I apologize.”

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The Giants’ offense has been the second worst in the NFL through four weeks, averaging just 252 yards of total offense per game. 

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