#ItMightMeanTooMuch: Some thoughts on Odell Beckham Jr. handing out cash (allegedly) after the CFP National Championship
After winning a national championship in New Orleans, LSU could do no wrong on Monday night. Well, it was more like Tuesday morning. The world was LSU’s oyster.
And as we saw soon after the game, that included Odell Beckham Jr. handing out cash to LSU players. The former Bayou Bengal star didn’t hide it one bit.
The first video that went viral involved him counting what appeared to be real bills and handing them to receiver Justin Jefferson. That video, of course, got deleted (but you should totally read the replies):
OBJ handing out cash to LSU players https://t.co/xKjyot8boh
— 🥥 Bennie Jennings (@volblood) January 14, 2020
The video is still out there:
Dear Odell Beckham Jr.,
You can’t be caught on camera handing cash to Wide Receivers while they’re in college dude…. What are you thinking ? pic.twitter.com/k7o2Vccxxp
— CT Thorn (@chevyguyCT) January 14, 2020
I’ll be honest. My initial reaction was to laugh. Why? Not because I wanted to spit in the NCAA’s face. Seeing such a blatant disregard for any sort of rules in that moment is rare. Like, that’s the type of thing you’d see in a “Saturday Night Live” skit.
Obviously, many eyebrows were raised. When that got back to LSU, the university released a response to The Advocate saying that it wasn’t real money.
Right. Because Beckham, the guy with tens of millions of dollars, is just armed with fake bills at all times. Sure.
LSU’s defense of the viral video was quickly squashed Joe Burrow went on “Pardon My Take” and said that it was real cash that he got from Beckham, which he was OK admitting because he wasn’t a student-athlete anymore.
Ergo, another statement came from LSU saying the matter was being investigated:
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) January 15, 2020
Hmm. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Burrow wasn’t lying. Whether he should have lied to protect LSU and keep the story from lingering is another discussion entirely.
Anyone arguing that Beckham was indeed handing out fake cash also probably had a spin zone for him saying that he would sell Jefferson’s cleats for $200,000:
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) January 14, 2020
It’s official: At age 27, Beckham has officially gone all rogue booster on us.
And to be clear, this is different than Beckham donating LSU players new headphones or shoes. He got compliance clearance to do those things. Obviously Beckham never presented the question to LSU compliance, “y’all mind if I hand out cash on the field and in the locker room to a bunch of different players?”
I’m not trying to make this a bigger deal than it is because in all likelihood, nothing serious is going to come of this. LSU will make players return any real money, apologize and the NCAA will pretty much pretend it never happened. Unless, you know, the NCAA decides to make an example of LSU and hit the university with some sort of scholarship loss for mocking the rules for everyone to see.
This comes down to Beckham living in his own world. I mean ….
— Browns Rally Possum (@Browns_Possum) January 15, 2020
That dude is nuts. He loves LSU, but man, he’s nuts.
Beckham is the reason that the NCAA is dreading this inevitable day in which it allows student-athletes to make money off their names and likeness. They’re still figuring out how in their world they’re going to draw up legislation so that you don’t have former players with tens of millions of dollars handing out cash like it’s hard candy at grandma’s house.
Some might have seen that video and thought “what’s the issue if that’s gonna be legal in a few years?” That thought definitely cross my mind because it’s true that the NCAA announced a few months ago that it hopes to have legislation in place by January 2021 for student-athletes to make money off their likeness (we can thank California for that).
The NCAA can put rules in place to allow student-athletes to make money for signing autographs at the local mall. But if and when the rules do open up more, there’s certainly going to be more room for interpretation. Beckham might’ve thought he’d just give out money to guys going to the NFL and as Burrow said, not being in college anymore allows for that to happen. The issue is obviously Jefferson hasn’t declared for the NFL Draft yet. That’s also not an easy thing to police.
It’s hard to imagine a world in which Beckham handing out cash would ever not be some sort of rule violation. Like, picture Tim Cook interrupting a post-Iron Bowl interview and giving Bo Nix a hundred dollar handshake. Did I say “hundred?” I meant $10,000. That dude is loaded. He can afford it. Or what about if Julio Jones did that to DeVonta Smith after a national championship win next year?
If we’re being honest, I’m not sure if my first thought would be to laugh. It’d be like, “uh yeah, that’s probably not OK.”
I, among others, initially laughed at what Beckham did because it was LSU. It was America’s team in 2019. It was New Orleans. It was a team that could do no wrong playing in a city where one can do no wrong. Subconsciously or not, those factors certainly made it easy to brush off something like this. Those of us in SEC country would all be burying Clemson right now if Deshaun Watson were seen on camera giving cash to Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne.
Perception is everything. Perception of LSU as this fun, likable team is what’ll ultimately allow the general public to get back to dissecting the Tigers’ historic dominance. And frankly, that should probably be the case regardless of who it was who delivered a season like that for the ages.
Beckham did something that gave the university a bigger headache than the one it already had from its championship hangover. It’ll pass, sure. But it’ll also be a reference point for the NCAA if and when it tweaks the rulebook.
I’ll bet all of Beckham’s fake money on that.