In post-truth America, the motto E pluribus unum has been replaced with That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
LSU’s story in the aftermath of a viral video showing Browns receiver (and former LSU standout) Odell Beckham Jr. handing out cash to LSU players after Monday night’s national championship victory over Clemson is that the money was fake.
It’s a predictable claim, because as to any players who won’t be leaving for the NFL, this is the kind of thing that could affect their eligibility for 2020. And if it’s to be believed, Beckham was rewarding kids who delivered a national title with money that he knew was phony — and they didn’t?
“That’s really funny,” they surely thought when they realized they’d gotten Schrutebucks instead of legal tender.
The money looks real in the video. But since there’s no way of proving that it was, there’s really nothing the NCAA can do. It has no jurisdiction over Beckham, so it can’t force him to answer questions about where, how, and why he got cash that looks real but isn’t.
Then there’s the reality that cracking down on the situation would serve only to further expose the hypocrisy of a system that fails to fairly compensate players who generate billions for college football. So what if a few guys got a cash-cushioned handshake? The only difference between those and the many others that happen on a regular basis for college football and basketball players is that last night they happened to be caught on camera.
And so the smart play for the NCAA would be to do nothing. The smart play for LSU would be to politely advise Beckham to be a little more discreet the next time he shows up at a game with a wad of cash, real or otherwise.