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A domino effect might be on the horizon after Odell Beckham Jr.'s encounter with LSU players and a security officer that led to arrest warrants and debates about possible NCAA violations.
Speaking to USA Today Sports Thursday (Jan 16) executive director Bill Hancock said officials from the College Football Playoff will investigate practices that allow non-players to engage with players on the sidelines during events such as the national semifinals and championship games.
“Being on the sidelines is a privilege,” Hancock told the outlet. “Along with any privilege comes responsibility, because the focus should be on the people playing and coaching in the game, rather than on any visitors. The CFP will be reviewing its policy for allowing guests onto the sidelines and into locker rooms at future games.”
While the LSU Tigers beat Clemson Monday to secure a spot in the national championship, all eyes were on the Cleveland Browns wide receiver for handing out money to players and slapping the buttocks of a Superdome security guard. The incident took place in the LSU locker room. It was initially reported that the money was fake but it was confirmed that the money was actually real.
Video of the incident went viral and just a few days later, New Orleans Police Department public affairs officer Juan Barnes confirmed that the security guard filed the complaint. An arrest warrant for simple battery was issued against Beckham Jr. on Thursday.
The NFL star and former LSU player possibly committed an NCAA violation "if it’s determined athletes with eligibility remaining received cash," USA Today Sports mentions. OBJ and his representatives are cooperating with authorities, the Browns said in a statement.
Statement regarding Odell Beckham Jr. incident: pic.twitter.com/7cN3jOLCj6
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 16, 2020
LSU will now investigate the incident to confirm if any NCAA violations were committed and if it will affect any of the players seen in the video.
Many have pointed exactly why the officer was in the locker room in the first place. As the players were celebrating their big win, the security guard allegedly threatened the players who were smoking cigars in the locker room. Stephen A. Smith reacted to the news and the NCAA possible violation as "bogus."
The International Olympic Committee banned athletes from any form of social protests during the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Games. The IOC's Athlete's Commission released guidelines on Thursday (Jan. 9) warning athletes to keep Olympic venues and the podium free of “political, religious or ethnic demonstrations.”
“We believe that the example we set by competing with the world’s best while living in harmony in the Olympic Village is a uniquely positive message to send to an increasingly divided world,” the commission explained in a statement. “This is why it is important, on both a personal and a global level, that we keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations.
“If we do not, the life’s work of the athletes around us could be tarnished and the world would quickly no longer be able to look at us competing and living respectfully together, as conflicts drive a wedge between individuals and nations.”
Kneeling, raising fists, and displaying any political messaging (including signs or armbands) are named as banned forms of social protests. The IOC also added a list of other places where athletes can go to “express” their views” during the Olympic Games.
Athletes have been known to make social and political statements at the Olympics, years before Colin Kaepernick spearheaded kneeling on the football field. Most notably at the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City where Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised the black power fist while the U.S. National Anthem played in the stadium.
U.S. Olympian Gwen Berry lambasted the newly-released IOC regulations as a “form of control.” Berry, a competitor in the 2016 games in the hammer throw, raised her first at the Pan Am Games last year.
“It’s kind of like silencing us at the biggest moments of our lives. I really don’t agree with it,” Berry told Yahoo! Sports.“They want it to just be sports, for the love of sports.
“We sacrifice for something for four years, and we’re at our highest moment. We should be able to say whatever we want to say, do whatever we have to do – for our brand, our culture, the people who support us, the countries that support us, [everything]. We shouldn’t be silenced. It definitely is a form of control.”
The summer Olympics kick off on Friday, July 24.
In partnership with RIP Medical, the Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young supported the nonprofit's mission of eliminating debt for the city's residents who couldn't afford certain bills. According to WSB-TV, Young's $10,000 donation led the $1,059,186.39 medical debt to be erased.
"The city of Atlanta has welcomed me with open arms. Giving back to this community is extremely important to me," the guard said. "I hope these families can find a bit of relief knowing that their bills have been taken care of as we enter the New Year." Since 2014, RIP Medical Debt has wiped out over $1 billion in healthcare costs since its inception, ABC News reports.
In a November 2019 report by CNBC, 137 million Americans are dealing with astronomical medical debt. So much so that the report claims Americans have been considering dipping into their 401(k)s to assist with the medical costs.
A year after joining the league in 2018, the 21-year-old established a foundation in his name. The outlet "was formed with the goals of continuing education for mental health problems, particularly cyber and social media bullying. Children and adults on a daily basis deal with depression, anxiety, PTSD among other issues that are caused by cyber and social media bullying."
"Blessed to have such a great team around me to help me make this happen!!" he tweeted. "For the A #MakeADifference."
Blessed to have such a Great Team around me to help me make this happen!!
For the A❤️ #MakeADifference https://t.co/EIAFDN9ViR
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) January 8, 2020