Forgettable Warrant Isn't the Story With Odell Beckham
Life is never boring with Odell Beckham. The Cleveland Browns receiver took in the game featuring his LSU Tigers facing off against Clemson in the National Championship on Monday. After LSU had secured the victory, Beckham was seen on live television handing cash to football players on the field, still in uniform. This has forced the school to launch an investigation into the incident. In the locker room of the Super Dome, celebrating the win with the players and coaches, Beckham was seen on video, slapping a police officer on the butt. The New Orleans police department has issued a warrant for simple battery over the incident.
Realistically, while the warrant is something Beckham nor the team are interested in seeing happen and qualifies as another incident involving the controversial receiver, it's a nothing deal. The warrant is likely only occurring due to the fact there is video of Beckham doing it and the department felt like they had to issue a warrant as to avoid being accused of giving out special treatment.
The police initially entered the locker room because players were smoking cigars, which is illegal. Officers threatened to arrest players if they did not put the cigars out and were quite serious. Given the fact that those laws tend to be about consideration for others and everyone was in on the celebration, most people are probably sympathetic to the players in this situation. Beckham's situation is somewhat folded into that celebration. Not ideal, as it's another headline with the team's name and something negative next to it, it's stupid, but pretty harmless.
While people are also sympathetic to players being paid for the amount of money they generate the NCAA, universities, television networks, basically anyone who isn't doing the work, Beckham was seen on live television handing out cash to players. That is the far bigger deal. And it may not land on Beckham, ultimately, as they are limited in what they can do to him. It could have massive fallout for the LSU football program and perhaps how some people view Beckham.
However anyone feels about the NCAA, they are going to act in their best interest. They would like people to believe that college athletics are about the passion of the game and are putting the student in student athlete, but that's wantonly naive and this flies directly in the face of it. They make a fortune off of these players while the players get so much less. Yes, they get a scholarship and certain other benefits, but it's still peanuts compared to what others make off of what they are able to do.
For the semifinal game, Beckham gave the entire team headphones valued at around $250 apiece. He actually got that cleared by the NCAA, so that was entirely legal. To then do this, the response from the NCAA will be fascinating. Beckham may argue this is his way of protesting the way athletes are treated in college sports.
These aren't alleged cash handshakes, free shoes or benefits behind closed doors. It's out there for everyone to see and the NCAA isn't going to just let that go. It remains to be seen just how far they will take this, but the ramifications could be enormous. The NCAA is fighting for its continued existence and this story isn't likely to go away anytime soon. The arrest is minor, will be forgotten quickly.