Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil was one of the top rated prospects heading into the NFL Draft last night. Pretty much everyone considered him a top-five pick, in spite of the nebulous "issues"-based hand-wringing you get from NFL types that sleep with running shoes on JUST IN CASE.
Then, less than 15 minutes before the draft started, a video of him smoking a bong hooked up to a gas mask appeared on his twitter account.
Tunsil's slide down the draft board was swift but ended with Miami at No. 13, which honestly doesn't sound like that bad of a thing in a vacuum. I mean, he'll have to play for the Dolphins, but I guess you just cross that bridge when you get to it.
Let's track back here. A kid smoked weed and allegedly got money for rent and his mom's bills. You can scold him for letting someone videotape him smoking weed, but college kids don't think critically when they're having great laughs and smoking weed, and then that video doesn't get deleted, it gets forgotten, and whoops it reappeared again.
A few hours later, Tunsil's Instagram account also went sideways on him, with these posts allegedly showing him and coaches arranging payments.
Laremy Tunsil asked if he took money from a coach. "I'd have to say yeah."— Hugh Kellenberger (@HKellenbergerCL) April 29, 2016
Tunsil just denied an exchange of money between him and his coach. Then, asked again, said it happened. Then interrupted, ushered off stage.— Joan Niesen (@JoanNiesen) April 29, 2016
Oh. Here's the full video of Tunsil's press conference, with relevant portion starting at the 1:58 mark.
I have to imagine we'll be hearing about this story for a while, and that's fine. A player getting cash from a coach or staff member rather than a booster sounds highly irregular, but whatever.
I just can't shake a deep feeling of sadness for this kid. This day was supposed to be the best day of his life, and some extremely shady party decides to ruin things by airing our his dirty laundry and posting an old video of him smoking weed. So who did this to him? Tunsil has long had an extremely bitter and acrimonious relationship with his stepfather, Lindsay Miller, who just happened to sue him earlier this week. Tunsil's stepfather has denied any involvement in the hacks, for what it's worth.
The stuff at the press conference admitting to taking money is baffling, but I have to imagine his head was swimming so badly at that point, he probably couldn't get his bearings. He'll still end up with a handsome contract with the Dolphins, but his slide on Thursday night will cost him millions.
There is so much going on here, and it's all weird as hell. But really, it just kind of bums me out.