The video looked as clear as can be: Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who played his college football at LSU, was mingling with LSU players on the field after Monday night’s national championship game, and handing cash to some of them. But despite what was shown on the video, LSU initially claimed Beckham was just handing out play money.
Now LSU has walked back that claim.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, LSU acknowledged that the cash Beckham was handing out to players “may have been” real.
“We are aware of the situation regarding Odell Beckham Jr. interacting with LSU student-athletes and others unaffiliated with the team following the championship game Monday night,” LSU’s statement said. “Initial information suggested bills that were exchanged were novelty bills. Information and footage reviewed since shows apparent cash may have also been given to LSU student-athletes. We were in contact with the NCAA and the SEC immediately upon learning of this situation in which some of our student-athletes may have been placed in a compromising position. We are working with our student-athletes the NCAA and the SEC in order to rectify the situation.”
The NCAA’s rules are rather ridiculous, with their insistence on maintaining the “amateur” status of college football players whose labors are worth billions of dollars to the NCAA and its television partners. But they’re rules that LSU agrees to, and rules that were apparently broken in LSU’s victory celebration.