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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell might have found Laremy Tunsil’s fall “exciting,” but the president of the players union found it offensive, and hopes generations of young players learn from what happened to the new Dolphins tackle.
NFLPA president and Bengals tackle Eric Winston took the league to task for the mixed messages they were sending players at the draft this weekend, as Goodell exulted in how the drama surrounding Tunsil’s being hacked, shamed and losing millions of dollars was good for (his) business.
In a series of messages on Twitter that threatened to turn into a Jerry McGuire-style mission statement, Winston made it clear the difference between the union’s feelings and the league’s.
“I have been stewing over what happened last night and what was said earlier today. This is what I think:,” he wrote. “Last night everyone saw a young man’s dream turn into a nightmare. The mistakes he made in the past were released out there to millions with an intent to harm him. What did the NFL do? Nothing. In fact, if Roger is to be believed, they loved it because it made the draft “so exciting.”
“The NFL invested big on this marketing campaign of ‘family.’ It was all over Chicago on every billboard.
Let me dish out some free advice to the young men coming into this league this weekend: they are not your family. This is a business.”
“I hope that what Laremy said is true and that he learned from his mistake. I wish him good luck and hope every drafted player is wise to what it takes to make it in the NFL and who really has your back.”
Between Winston’s admonition and executive director DeMaurice Smith’s “SMH” to Goodell for other comments, it’s clear the gulf between the players and the league isn’t getting any smaller.
Largely lost in last night’s Laremy Tunsil limbo was the fact that someone violated his privacy and, in turn, broke the law.
As explained by Jason Lisk of TheBigLead.com, whoever hacked Tunsil’s Twitter account and posted video of Tunsil smoking marijuana with a gas mask and a bong faces up to five years in prison under the Stored Communications Act, if “the offense is committed for purposes of commercial advantage, malicious destruction or damage, or private commercial gain.”
Even without an improper purpose, the potential sanction consists of not more than one year for a first offense and up to five years for a second offense.
The improper purpose apparently need not actually result in harm. As written, the statute refers only to purpose not effect. And common sense suggests that whoever was getting into Tunsil’s social media account(s) wanted to harm his draft stock.
Deadspin notes that someone had been trying to sell the Tunsil video for weeks. Whoever had the video either knew or guessed Tunsil’s password, hacked his Twitter account, and in turn broke the law.
Getting in may have been easy. Covering it up could be impossible. Here’s hoping that the relevant federal officials quickly swoop in to investigate. If the hack committed in Major League Baseball justified the devotion of federal resources last year, the misconduct directed at Tunsil merits a similar response.
Tunsil also should be ready to pursue civil liability. However, the person who did it quite possibly doesn’t have the resources to even begin to compensate Tunsil for the damages resulting from however many spots he fell due to the hacking.
Well, the Browns did take a wide receiver last night, and that was apparently enough to change their minds about another one.
According to the league’s daily personnel notice, the Browns have released veteran wideout Saalim Hakim.
They just signed Hakim Monday, after he had taken part in a weekend minicamp as a tryout player. He has spent time with the Jets, showing some degree of promise as a return man.
But whether the addition of first-round wideout Corey Coleman had anything to do with the decision to release Hakim or not, they had a sudden change of heart.
After a brief absence due to an allergic reaction, Dolphins first-round draft pick Laremy Tunsil appeared in Miami this afternoon but declined to discuss the issues that arose during last night’s draft.
Asked who hacked his Twitter account to post a video showing him smoking a bong while wearing a gas mask, Tunsil answered, “I don’t know nothing about that. I’m here to talk about the Miami Dolphins.”
Asked about the text messages that appeared on his hacked Instagram account appearing to show Tunsil asking an Ole Miss coach for money, Tunsil answered, “I’m here to talk about the Miami Dolphins.”
Asked about Ole Miss releasing a statement about potential NCAA violations involving him, Tunsil answered, “I’m just here to talk about the Miami Dolphins.”
Are you sensing a theme yet?
Tunsil did say he’s looking forward to being a Dolphin and grateful to be drafted at all, even if he slipped from a projected Top 5 pick to No. 13 overall.
“It’s exciting just to be a part of this organization,” Tunsil said. “I got drafted in the NFL so I’m happy.”
Tunsil said that with a smile, suggesting that he’s enjoying his first day in the NFL after a rough entrance to the NFL.
The Panthers added a defensive tackle to the roster on Thursday night when they made Vernon Butler the 30th overall pick of the draft and the position group got a little deeper on Friday.
PFT reported Friday afternoon that the Panthers claimed Robert Thomas off of waivers from the Dolphins and the team made the move official a short time later.
Thomas was waived by the Dolphins on Thursday after the conclusion of a three-day minicamp. Thomas played one game for the Dolphins last season after the team signed him off of the Patriots practice squad in early December, but wound up on injured reserve after assisting on one tackle in a Week 13 victory over the Ravens. Thomas has also spent time with the Redskins and Seahawks since entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas in 2014.
The Panthers now have Butler, Thomas and Paul Soliai behind Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei. Short is set to be a free agent after next season while the team has exercised its fifth-year option on Lotulelei’s contract.
Linebacker A.J. Tarpley announced his retirement earlier this month, and now he’s officially a free agent.
The Bills released Tarpley and tight end Jacob Maxwell on Friday.
Tarpley made the Bills as an undrafted rookie last year and played in 14 games, starting two. In announcing his retirement he said he suffered his third and fourth concussions last season.
Maxwell initially joined the Bills via their practice squad last December. Undrafted in 2014, he got his first NFL shot with the Bears, then spent parts of the last two training camps with the Lions.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd will also pass on a return visit after he went undrafted in the first round. Dodd will be back in South Carolina with his family instead.
Dodd’s name was frequently included as a first round pick in mock drafts along with college teammate Shaq Lawson, who went 19th overall to the Bills, over the last few months, but NFL teams didn’t share those opinions when it came time to make their selections. It seems likely that he’ll hear his name called in the early part of the second round.
A trio of Alabama defenders – linebacker Reggie Ragland and defensive tackles A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed — and Mississippi State defensive lineman Chris Jones were the other players left in the green room when the first round concluded.
The Buccaneers added cornerback Vernon Hargreaves to the roster in the first round of the draft on Thursday night and they have seven more picks before things wrap up on Saturday with a class of undrafted free agents to follow, which made Friday a day to clear out some roster space for the new arrivals.
The team announced that they have waived eight players who failed to convince the team they were worth keeping around during this week’s three-day minicamp. Wide receiver Andre Davis, linebacker Darius Eubanks, guard Antoine Everett, safety Gerod Holliman, defensive tackle Derrick Lott, safety Kimario McFadden, linebacker Jermauria Rasco and cornerback C.J. Roberts were the unlucky octet sent packing.
McFadden played three games for the Bucs last season and made two tackles. Eubanks spent a week on the active roster, but saw his only NFL regular season action in nine games with the Browns during the 2013 season. Davis, Everett, Holliman, Lott and Roberts all spent time on the practice squad last year.
The Bucs are next on the clock with the eighth pick of the second round.
The NFL Players Association initially had nothing to say regarding Commissioner Roger Goodall’s claim that the union simply wants no discipline of any players under any circumstances. The NFLPA has now chimed in.
Executive director DeMaurice Smith said this on Twitter earlier in the afternoon: “SMH. Welcome to my world. Maybe now the public understands why players and I insist on having certain owners in the room to get things done.”
While Smith doesn’t specifically link his comments to Goodell’s observations about the disciplinary process, it’s very safe to assume that Goodell’s remarks sparked the reaction. Smith is basically saying that there’s a certain degree of obtuseness (possibly deliberate) that makes it impossible for the parties to communicate at a productive level.
Really, if Goodell genuinely believes that the NFLPA’s goal isn’t to ensure fair disciplinary procedures but to obtain complete retroactive and prospective exoneration for any and all player misconduct, it’s amazing the two sides ever get anything done. And if the relationship between league and union continues to gradually fritter and fray over the next five years, it will be amazing if there isn’t a work stoppage when the current CBA expires.
Last time, the players had in place a viable long-term legal strategy for swinging the balance of power in their favor, but they lacked the collective will to miss game checks in order to get what they wanted. Next time, maybe they’ll be at the point where they’ve had enough and are willing to spend part or all of a season not absorbing various forms and fashions of physical punishment on a playing field that, from a business standpoint, still isn’t nearly as level as it should be.
Dolphins offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil was the story of the first round of the NFL draft, as he dropped to the 13th overall pick while someone hacked his social media accounts and posted embarrassing videos and text messages. Tunsil then raised more eyebrows when speaking to the media after he was drafted by seeming to acknowledge he had broken NCAA rules while at Ole Miss.
So everyone was interested in hearing what Tunsil would say today at his first media appearance in Miami. Unfortunately, that appearance didn’t take place. Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum said Tunsil was dealing with an allergic reaction.
“Unfortunately, Laremy had an allergic reaction this afternoon, so right now he’s with our medical staff and hopefully it’s just a quick, short-term thing,” Tannenbaum said at the Dolphins’ press conference, adding that it wasn’t clear what caused the allergic reaction.
Character questions swirled around Tunsil even before the video of him wearing a gas mask and smoking a bong surfaced, but Tannenbaum said the Dolphins feel good about Tunsil.
“Our area scout felt good about his character. Obviously there are some mistakes he made in his past, but we were comfortable with that. All the research we had done, we were very comfortable with his character. The decision was made by the entire organization, including Steve Ross our owner, and we are very comfortable with Laremy the player and the person,” Tannenbaum said.
Eventually, Dolphins fans may feel great about Tunsil. But for now, they’re not getting to hear from him.
The ultimate reality show’s ultimate offseason reality show will be a bit less real tonight, to the likely dismay of a Commissioner who likes how the implosion of a young man’s business interests is good for the league’s.
Adam Schefter of ESPN, one of the two networks that benefits directly from draft picks giving up one more night of unpaid services through their attendance at the draft, reports that former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack won’t return to the draft on Friday after plummeting through round one on Thursday.
Three years ago, former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smih initially wasn’t planning to return for round two after not being taken in round one. Some (including me) criticized Smith for the tentative decision, which later was rescinded.
In hindsight, it was wrong of me to criticize Smith for refusing to continue to be an unpaid prop under Big Shield’s big top. I won’t criticize Jack for stiff arming the process, and no one else should, either.
There’s a line between showing up without compensation for a positive, uplifting moment and serving as a pawn in a chess game where the player already has been pinned into checkmate. ESPN and NFL Network will focus Friday night’s coverage on Jack’s ongoing free fall, to the delight of the league. Why should Jack provide the real-time reaction shots?
To his credit, Jack carried himself well last night under significant adversity, showing no reaction as one pick after another went to a player other than him. That fact that Jack showed up at all shows that someone failed to manage his expectations properly, so he’s now doing the smart thing by staying away.
Schefter also reports that Jack has been told by Dr. James Andrews that the player doesn’t need microfracture surgery on his injured knee. Although that too-little-too-late disclosure doesn’t change the fact that Jack said that he possibly may need it in the future (and since Schefter’s report focuses only on the present, there’s a chance Dr. Andrews agrees), it’s good that someone is finally trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.
Still, the league’s TV show benefitted from the fact that the toothpaste was sprayed all over the place last night, and it’s to the league’s detriment that Jack won’t be there as the last few globs get squeezed out of it.
It’s not known whether the five other players who accepted invitations to the draft will be back for Friday night. Each should strongly consider staying away; after all, last night was about celebrating their future and tonight will be about rubbernecking at the wreckage.
Given Leary’s experience as a starter in Dallas before La’El Collins moved past him on the depth chart, it seemed like a realistic possibility that a team or teams would be in contact with the Cowboys. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said that was the case on Thursday night.
“We’ve had calls on him, yeah,” Jones said, via the team’s website. “If we needed to do something today, we could have.”
Jones said that Leary would “obviously” like to go somewhere that offers him a chance at a starting job, something that doesn’t exist in Dallas with Collins and Zach Martin locked into the first team, and that the Cowboys are open to making a move “if we got what we thought was fair” in return.
Rams G.M. Les Snead told Shelley Smith of ESPN that “at least five” teams have reached out to inquire about acquiring Foles in a trade.
It’s hard to imagine those teams are offering much more than a seventh-round draft pick for Foles, but the Rams might be able to get something for Foles before draft weekend comes to an end. That would leave them with Case Keenum as the veteran competition for Goff.
Goff is expected to win the starting job, but Keenum told Snead he’s going to work hard to make the coaches at least consider keeping Keenum as the starter, which he was proclaimed to be before the Rams moved up for Goff.
“I’m going to make it a difficult decision for you,” Keenum said, according to Snead.
Foles won’t get that opportunity in Los Angeles, and will likely go elsewhere as a backup.
Some might wonder if that position will shift now that the team has drafted Ronnie Stanley with the sixth overall pick of the draft. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the team is not expected to release Monroe, who is still recovering after ending the year on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.
On Thursday night, coach John Harbaugh was asked if Stanley could start his career at guard and said that the makeup of the line “will pan out the way it pans out” through competition.
“There’s a good chance we could do it that way or another way,” Harbaugh said. “It’s kind of too early to say. We’re always going to try to put the best five linemen on the field. There’s no question about it, he’s got a chance to be in our starting lineup.”
There’s a lot of time for things to work out differently. Monroe has missed 16 games over the last two seasons, which may make him a riskier piece of the lineup than the Ravens would like if Stanley shows he’s up to starting at left tackle right away.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will not tolerate his employees publicly revealing the already publicly revealed names on his secret card, and possibly spoiling his super-important television show.
But if you want to be humiliated and possibly extorted, accused of something illegal which subjects you to possible future sanctions, and lose millions of dollars in the process, then just know that he is totally OK with that because it works out better for him that way.
The world’s highest-paid piñata — who exists to shield his bosses from bad and uncomfortable news in exchange for north of $30 million a year — said during an interview with an outlet which helps pay that freight that Tunsil’s slide last night made for good television.
“I think it’s all part of what makes the draft so exciting,” Goodell said during an interview with ESPN’s Mike & Mike when asked about Tunsil’s fall. “Clubs make decisions. Sometimes they take risks. Sometimes they do the right things. Sometimes they don’t, and we’ll see.
“Hopefully he is going to turn out to be a great young player.”
Gosh, thanks Roger, I’m sure Tunsil is relieved that you have such high hopes for him, after he was opened up to ridicule and persecution if not prosecution last night.
In case you missed it, about 15 minutes before the draft started, a video of Tunsil smoking out of a gas mask bong was put on his Twitter account by someone presumably not him. Then came Instagram messages from his account which suggest he was getting paid under the table at Ole Miss. Maybe it came from his stepfather who’s suing him for assault and maybe it didn’t, but either way, the kid was hauled out there for public shaming while his draft stock plummeted on live television.
The 13th pick will eventually sign a deal worth around $12.5 million. The third pick will make about $25.9 million. Even if you assume Tunsil might have gone sixth to the Ravens (who took the safer Ronnie Stanley instead), he lost at least $8 million in hypothetical dollars last night.
But let’s focus on what’s important here. The drama was gripping, and the ratings were probably through the roof.
Now go out there and give it your best Laremy, knowing the Commissioner has your best interests at heart. But make sure you put this officially licensed hat on first, so fans will know which one they’re supposed to buy.