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An arrest warrant was issued Thursday in New Orleans for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. after video surfaced of him allegedly assaulting a police officer after the college football national championship game earlier this week.
Beckham, 27, allegedly slapped the buttocks of a Superdome police officer while inside the Louisiana State University (LSU) locker room at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome after the Clemson Tigers’ historical national championship victory on Monday.
The security personnel was in the locker room telling LSU players to put out their cigars, according to NOLA.com. The players complied with the request, but the guard said he was struck on the buttocks from behind. The officer called the New Orleans Police Department the next day to press charges for the incident.
The 48-year-old lieutenant initially “wanted to retaliate by punching the offender” — ultimately identified by police as Beckham — but withheld, according to an arrest warrant obtained by NOLA.com. As the alleged contact was unwanted and later determined to have not risen "to that of sexual battery,” it was filed as a simple battery.
Video of the alleged incident went viral on social media before circulating on outlets like TMZ. The individual recording the video is heard saying “Uh-oh,” then laughing after Beckham appears to hit the officer .
The Browns issued a statement regarding the situation on Thursday:
“We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter,” a spokesperson for the team said. “They are cooperating with the proper authorities to appropriately address the situation.”
Punishment in Louisiana for simple battery can include a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months.
Beckham is also facing repercussions for his on-field antics post-game, as he allegedly passed out money to several LSU players. The incident was also caught on a since-deleted video, and, if true, would be in direct violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association policies. Initially, it was believed that Beckham was handing out “novelty bills” to the players, but in an appearance on the Barstool Sports “Pardon My Take” podcast, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow said that Beckham was using real money.
“We are aware of the situation regarding Odell Beckham JR. interacting with LSU student-athletes and others unaffiliated with the team following the championship game Monday night,” LSU said in an official statement on Wednesday. “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.
“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,” the statement continues. "We are working with our student-athletes, the NCAA and the SEC in order to rectify the situation"
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