LSU’s national champions left for and arrived in Washington, D.C., Thursday night, ready to do the town up right and tour the White House, see the president for the second time this week and the third time this season.
No official word yet on whether Odell Beckham Jr. somehow stowed away on the charter flight.
Presumably the trip and all the fixings were for current Tigers only, you know, those who actually had something to do with LSU winning its fourth national championship Monday night, the third this young century.
But it would fit the pattern for an attention junkie like Beckham to show up somewhere. Probably jumping in to photo-bomb Joe Burrow shaking hands with the president.
He’s sneaky like that. Never had much trouble slipping through the cracks and getting open.
Never know where he might show up.
True, today’s moment — just like Monday’s glorious climax to a Dream Season — is supposed to be about this year’s championship team.
The former Tiger now with the Cleveland Browns, Beckham evidently thought it was all about him, which isn’t unusual for an A-list football celebrity of his ilk.
As I recall, Beckham was once on the same Superdome big stage with every chance to win the same national championship Monday’s Tigers did.
That was … when? Oh yeah. The marvelous 2011 season, the unbeaten Tigers playing for what then was the Big Crystal.
Let’s see … and how did that go?
Yes. It was well into the fourth quarter of that game before the Tigers crossed midfield in a 21-0 loss to Alabama.
So maybe this repressed celebration had been pent up in Beckham for eight long years.
Beckham didn’t win the championship at LSU, but he sure did barge in on the party.
But just a suggestion to Beckham: the tried-and-true $100 handshake may be a long-standing tradition in college football, but generally you don’t do it in the middle of the field, in the middle of a wild public celebration, in front of umpteen television cameras.
Yet there was Beckham — Hey, everybody, look at me! Over here! — flying around and wildly tossing money at LSU players, “making it rain” as freely as the victory confetti and streamers that were intermingling with the cash windfall.
The NCAA rule on that kind of thing isn’t really much of gray area.
Oh, at first LSU floated this wink-wink story that it was fake money Beckham was throwing about — “novelty” bills, the statement called them.
Nice try, LSU. Everybody got a chuckle out of that one for sure.
If you’re Odell Beckham Jr., it’s a lot easier to get your hands on bona fide $100 Ben Franklins than the novelty fake bills they might sell in the French Quarter.
Oh, but Beckham’s party-crashing wasn’t done.
By the time the Tigers’ celebration exited the floor and into the sanctity of the delirious locker room, he was right there with them — Look everybody, I’m here, I’m famous! He apparently had a pass, so LSU isn’t blameless.
Inside it wasn’t the Superdome security guards’ finest hour for sure, as they found many of the celebrants were blatantly puffing on victory cigars.
Some party-pooping Barney Fife suddenly insisted on enforcing the letter of the law on the Superdome’s smoking ban, even threatening to arrest a few of the newly crowned national champions.
Eventually cooler heads prevailed — before Beckham picked up on another potential hey-look-at-me-I’m-a-big-celeb moment and promptly slapped a security officer on what might, in more polite situations, be called the derriere (or hind quarters).
By Thursday there was an arrest warrant for Beckham on some sort of misdemeanor simple battery charge.
So everybody was talking about Beckham, which may have been the point.
It’s doubtful much will come of it. Can’t imagine he sees much hard jail time.
But if the NCAA wants to be the same stickler for its rules that the Cigar Police were Monday, LSU could have some issues.
LSU might somehow have to explain what clearly was a representative of the university’s interests passing out cash to athletes.
Not to worry.
Nothing much will come of this.
The NCAA is rarely accused of overloading its docket with logic, but surely in this case reason will somehow prevail.
The NCAA will consider the heat-of-the-moment aspect. LSU will make a good-faith effort and return it to … somebody. Probably a charity (just not any kind of OBJ Foundation).
Maybe a mild slap on the wrist for LSU, probably just a reprimand for the program.
But it would surprise no one if among the “sanctions” handed down, the NCAA might demand that LSU sever ties with one Odell Beckham Jr.
It’s a fairly common practice.
Somehow, right now, that wouldn’t seem like such bad thing for LSU. Maybe even a blessing. Certainly one less headache.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org