In a now-private Twitter video, Browns and former LSU receiver Odell Beckham was recorded peeling off cash for LSU players after Monday night's national championship. In any other context, a millionaire tossing a couple hundreds to some broke teenagers would not be newsworthy.
The entire facade of the NCAA depends on anything but this exact thing - a video of a cash payment going directly to a player - happening. Beckham smashed it, and LSU needed to lie about it. The school found a thin cover because "novelty bills were found on the field during the postgame celebration." That was apparently enough to tell the local paper that Beckham's money "was not real."
"The bills were fake bills," an LSU spokesman told USA Today. "It was a joke."
Now-former superstar quarterback is. Joe Burrow went on a Barstool podcast that was released Tuesday and said that actually, the bills were real.
"I'm not a student-athlete any more, so I can say yeah," Burrow said.
In the wake of Burrow's comments, LSU's athletic department put out a statement acknowledging that Beckham probably gave its players money.
"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," the statement read. "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."
Junior wide receivers Jordan Jefferson and Jontre Kirklin can be seen getting cash in the video. Jefferson declared for the NFL draft on Wednesday; Kirklin seems likely to return to college. Obviously they, like anyone else, should be able to take cash from a rich guy who wants to give it to them.
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