Golden Tate got carried away. He wasn’t trying to get traded away.
In his first interview since the me-first comments that led to his de facto one-game suspension last week, a contrite Tate admitted he made a mistake, but debunked conspiracy theories he was trying to force his way off the Giants roster and onto a contender.
“My actions were unacceptable, and I apologized to the team, the GM, the coaches, the offense,” Tate said after Friday’s practice. “I’m excited to move forward.”
Tate screamed “Throw me the damn ball!” at the Giants sideline early in the fourth quarter of a Nov. 2 loss to the Buccaneers, on the eve of the NFL trade deadline. After catching a late touchdown pass, he repeated, “Throw me the ball!” into the television cameras. At other times throughout the game, Tate was throwing his hands in the air in frustration with not being targeted.
“I wouldn’t say I was trying to get traded,” Tate said.
So, what was his rationale?
“If you know me and you know my game, I play with a lot of emotion, a lot of passion, and I just got caught up in the moment,” Tate said. “I was wrong to draw attention to myself. I take full responsibility for that.”
Tate’s social-media savvy wife, Elise, stoked the fire further when she criticized the Giants for not properly utilizing her husband and quarterback Daniel Jones for not throwing to him when wide open. The 32-year-old veteran said he was not in the loop until his wife’s later-deleted words went public.
“In my wife’s defense, she is and will always be my biggest fan,” Tate said. “I disagree with her taking it public, but I will always have her back. I know that she was, in her mind, protecting me, and she was calling it how she saw it without having spoken to me or understood what had happened prior to that.
“It’s unfortunate that we drew collectively this type of attention to our organization when we’re trying to win ballgames. I felt the need to apologize to this organization for drawing that negative attention and also [for] my body language on the field. From here on, we don’t have to worry about that ever again.”
The punishment doled out by coach Joe Judge included a demotion to the scout team last week and being left home for the Giants’ win at Washington. Tate is questionable to play Sunday against the Eagles because of a knee injury suffered in Thursday’s practice that left him limited on Friday.
Tate characterized his long meeting with Judge last week as “very productive.” Tate has a catch in 122 straight games played and 22 receptions for 226 yards and two touchdowns in seven games this season.
“We talked like men,” Tate said, “and I think we came up with solutions on how I can be better to help us.”
The Giants are 3-15 with Tate in the lineup and 3-4 without him since he signed a four-year, $37.5 million contract. After finishing the 2018 season with the Eagles, Tate said he wanted to sign somewhere to chase a second Super Bowl ring. Instead he is one of the oldest players caught in a rebuild.
“I plan to honor my contract the best I possibly can,” Tate said. “I believe in this organization. I believe in where they’re heading. I believe in the people that they’re bringing in to be a part of this. I’m excited to be a part of it now, and hopefully that I can do my part to get us where we want to be.”
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