The NFL Draft: where stars are born, lives are changed, and Roger Goodell is verbally harassed for three days straight.
Within the draft stage in Kansas City, each team had its own squad of passionate fans to witness each pick in person. Given that New Orleans is a daunting 13-hour drive or two-hour flight, the Black and Gold were, understandably, underrepresented in comparison to Chiefs fans.
But if history has taught us anything, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. And our “dog” for the second day of the 2023 NFL Draft was Andrew Tujague.
Andrew currently lives with his family in Kansas City where he works as a Project Manager for a construction company. He and his family are originally from New Orleans and moved to Kansas City when he was six years old. His mother received a notification that the NFL was looking for Saints fans in the area to attend the draft, and the whole family agreed to participate.
“We were all there with our plus-ones in the Saints’ inner circle,” Tujague said. “We’re super appreciative to the Saints for giving us the experience. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Shortly before the Saints selected their second-round pick, Andrew, who was positioned in the front row of the Saints’ fan section, seized his moment. He was front and center on national television.
Promptly after cheering for the camera several feet away, Tujague exposed his “Clown Goodell” tee shirt.
“I bought the shirt four years ago after the no-call. I was joking with one of my cousins about wearing it under my jersey and if the camera panned over, I would pull my jersey up.”
Tujague instead brought the shirt in hand for the second day of the draft.
“When the camera panned over, I held it up when everyone was booing Goodell,” he said. “It was originally kind of a joke, but I ended up bringing (the shirt), and spur of the moment, I ended up actually whipping it out.”
After a few seconds of prime-time Goodell slander, a female New Orleans Saints fan next to Tujague grabbed the shirt, turned to him, and told him to put the shirt away.
This is where Tujague’s viral shirt moment turned into a conspiracy theory.
The female fan’s seemingly harsh reaction raised immediate questions. Who was this woman? Why did she care so deeply about the commissioner? Was she even a real Saints fan?
The conspiracy of the NFL planting “fake fans” at the draft has been around for years, but it was awoken again thanks to Tujague’s shirt. The video was even posted by the Barstool Sports Twitter page. It currently has 1.1 million views. Finally, Tujague has the opportunity to answer the “fake fan” conspiracy rumors himself.
Wow.— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) April 28, 2023
Saints fan shows Goodell clown shirt.
Woman gets in his way and says “don’t do that!”
Does she work for the NFL?!?!?! pic.twitter.com/9aoTB5qrJZ
Unfortunately for conspiracy theorists, the fan was not “fake.” It was, in fact, Andrew’s sister, Mary Lucy Tujague.
“When I first brought the shirt, (Mary Lucy) and my mom was concerned that if I showed it, the Saints representative that coordinated everything for us could get in trouble or there could be some sort of repercussions on the Saints. So, when I pulled it up, (Mary Lucy) said ‘Put that up! We don’t want to get her in trouble.’ and she grabbed it and threw it behind her.”
In response to Barstool’s tweet about the “fake fan,” Andrew responded with a storybook ending to his viral moment.
Shortly after the shirt incident, Goodell interacted with some front-row fans, including Andrew and his family. In noble fashion, Tujague asked the commissioner to sign the clown shirt, to which the commissioner, for some reason, agreed.
She was definitely an NFL plant pic.twitter.com/PMAUITVgA2— Andrew Tujague (@tujague9) April 29, 2023
“He was a good sport about it,” Tujague said. “He said, ‘Oh that’s a good shirt, I have a couple of those at home.’”
Regardless of the conspiracy that grew from Andrew Tujague’s “fake fan” interaction, the real winner was Tujague himself. In one evening, he witnessed a Mickey Loomis drafting masterclass, was the star of a viral moment on ESPN, met the commissioner, and met Saints legend, Roman Harper. Andrew repeatedly offered his graciousness to the Saints for granting him and his family a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
It’s unclear if meeting the commissioner was a pro or con, but at least his shirt skyrocketed in eBay resale value.
“I think the whole fake fan conspiracy thing is hilarious. But yeah, not a fake. She’s a real fan. I love that the moment got caught, though.”
In a redeeming testament, Andrew is almost positive that he heard his sister booing Goodell during other points throughout the draft weekend.