It’s tradition for championship-winning sports teams to pop champagne and spark a stogie. But for the undefeated Louisiana State University football team, the celebration after Monday night’s crowning victory was yet another reminder that college athletes are not playing on the same field as their professional peers.
In addition to being excluded from fair monetary compensation for their crushing blows and crowd-pleasing touchdowns, players were stopped from enjoying their own victorious smoke rings.
According to concurrent reports from AL.com and the Washington Post, a local police officer patrolling New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome during the college football championship tried to snuff out LSU’s post-game celebration, interrupting the locker room festivities to threaten arrest for any player caught smoking a cigar. Despite the warning, Heisman trophy winner and presumed number one NFL draft pick Joe Burrow kept puffing away, defying the hard-nosed cop.
In fact, the team was in such good spirits that the officer’s warning was initially met with laughter. But after an awkward silence and secondary threat, sources in the room said that an awkward silence overcame the bustling locker room.
To calm the tension, another officer spoke up to try and contradict the anti-smoking officer. Even in the face of another badge though, Smokey the Cop insisted that his commander had insisted on a zero tolerance policy regarding cigar smoking.
Despite the repeated scolding, the evening’s celebration ended without any football players in handcuffs. But during another post-game event, a few LSU players were caught in another scandal when phone cameras caught NFL star Odell Beckham Jr. handing out wads of cash to winning receivers. Cash prizes violate just about every NCAA rule in the books, but LSU officials quickly tried to smooth over the incident by claiming that OBJ’s blue faces were nothing but funny money.
Who knows, maybe the team just used the Benjamins to help light their contraband cigars back in the locker room.
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