Say what you will about the man’s coaching abilities, this is a classy gesture.
Best of luck to you, too, Coach.
For the second – and unprecedented – year in a row, no Tennessee player heard his name called in the NFL draft.
At least they move on in life knowing their bathroom hygiene is flawless, though. Four years of college is good for something.
See a college football player smoking marijuana with the help of a gas mask isn’t particularly shocking… at least not as shocking as discovering that Jimmy Sexton isn’t perfect.
An assistant for Jimmy Sexton, the most powerful agent in football, stood face to face with a client, Laremy Tunsil, the 6-foot-5, 310-pound offensive lineman from the University of Mississippi, in a crowded media room in the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University on Thursday night.
Tunsil had just been selected by the Miami Dolphins with the 13th pick in the first round of the N.F.L. draft. But he was also suddenly at the center of one of the biggest calamities in draft history. Sexton’s assistant, Amy Milam, prepped Tunsil for the onslaught he was about to experience. Sweat was pouring off his brow as soon as reporters began lobbing questions.
After a couple of minutes of questioning, Milam, maybe a foot shorter than Tunsil, quickly barged forward, declared the interview over and pushed him to the door.
The N.F.L. draft, the league’s glitziest showpiece after the Super Bowl, has long produced cringe-worthy drama when highly regarded players arepassed over. The farther someone’s stock falls on draft night, with millions of TV viewers watching, the greater the spectacle.
But what happened on Thursday night was an “Are you watching this?” misadventure for the league akin to Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” in the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show — but in the social-media age.
And this time, the wardrobe involved a bong attached to a gas mask.
Even so, Sexton’s dark cloud wound up having a silver lining.
The draft often serves as a demonstration of Sexton’s formidable status in the sport as his clients are paraded across the podium to greet the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, and to hold up their new team’s jersey. On Thursday, those celebratory images were overtaken by a player in a gas mask.
Sexton has a stable of college and pro clients including Alabama Coach Nick Saban, Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher, the former Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
His ties to the Dolphins are particularly deep. He helped arrange Saban’s abrupt departure from the Dolphins to the Crimson Tide in 2007, and herepresents the former executives Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland, as well as the former coach Tony Sparano and the Dolphins’ current coach, Adam Gase, who was hired in January.
The team’s executive vice president of football operations, Mike Tannenbaum, has a strong relationship with Sexton…
Man, you just can’t keep a super-agent down.
You can already hear Jimmy’s next sales pitch, can’t you: “Hey, if I can manage to get Tunsil a $12 million contract an hour after he’s caught bonging pot with a gas mask, imagine what I can get for you!”
Don’t forget this man is Kirby Smart’s agent. Greg McGarity may need a gas mask of his own in the next round of contract negotiations.
Andy Staples suggests a unique defense Ole Miss could resort to if the Tunsil situation gets sticky:
No one from Ole Miss is talking beyond a generic statement released early Friday morning. Athletic director Ross Bjork has not responded to text messages from SI.com. But if Ole Miss officials were thinking ahead, they could have used a federal court ruling from the previous year to justify giving Tunsil money above tuition, room and board. On Aug. 8, 2014, Judge Claudia Wilken ruled against the NCAA in a case brought by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon. One of the stipulations in Wilken’s ruling was that schools were no longer allowed to make rules that capped scholarships below the actual cost-of-attendance figure the schools reported to the federal government. This meant that schools could offer the difference between tuition, room and board and the actual cost of attendance as a cash stipend. In the case of Ole Miss, that amount is $4,500. But here’s the catch. Schools didn’t start offering those stipends until the 2015–16 school year. Yet because they had to comply with the federal court ruling, they could provide up to that amount for an athlete using the NCAA’s Student Assistance Fund. This is a pool of cash—which also has its roots in a federal lawsuit—available to schools to use when players face a sudden need. The usual example here is the cost of traveling home to a family member’s funeral. Recently, schools have also used this fund to purchase disability and/or loss-of-value insurance policies for their best football and basketball players.
In the 2014–15 academic year, when those texts were allegedly sent, a school could have used money from the SAF to pay a player up to the difference between his scholarship and the actual cost of attendance. In that case, Ole Miss could have given Tunsil up to $4,500. This window closed when the Rebels began to offer cost-of-attendance stipends, but it was open during the dates in question, according to people with knowledge of the NCAA’s compliance interpretations at the time.
This explanation would only be accepted if Ole Miss documented all payments to Tunsil as such when they happened. SEC schools are required to log all their SAF disbursements with the conference office. If there’s a record of those payments to Tunsil, voila. The Rebels were simply complying with the court’s ruling. This wouldn’t satisfy rival fans and coaches who thirst for NCAA-related blood to be spilled in Oxford, but it would keep the wolves at bay in this particular instance. [Emphasis added.]
Admittedly, the odds on that are slight, at best. But, damn, would that raise more than a few eyebrows if Freeze were really thinking that far ahead? I suspect even Jim Harbaugh would tip his cap to that kind of envelope pushing.
Groo takes a walk through Bill Connelly’s ongoing historical series of S&P+ ratings (Bill’s now gone all the way back to 1990, I believe) and makes an argument in 2001 for Brian VanGorder being a step down from Gary Gibbs.
I made the assumption from the initial whispering that Davis was shown the door because of some serious violation on the recruiting front. I assumed serious because Davis was a coach that Saban liked enough to bring back to Alabama a second time and you don’t give the boot to someone you obviously value without some real justification. I also assumed serious because, as Barrett Sallee mentioned, when Trooper Taylor and Curtis Luper became the subjects of a NCAA probe, they were merely pulled off the recruiting trail as a starter.
Sounds bad, right? However, Kevin Scarbinsky suggests another possibility.
The departure of Davis would be curious enough if it weren’t preceded by a Thursday evening report from TideSports.com that Davis was headed out the door “over an inquiry into possible recruiting violations.”
A person familiar with the situation told AL.com it did concern a potential recruiting violation, which may not have been serious in nature, but Davis was not cooperative with the school when questioned about it. It appears that lack of cooperation led to his departure.
You don’t suggest to Nick Saban that you don’t have time for his shit and live to tell about it, in other words.
Now, sure, the possibility exists that the two aren’t mutually exclusive events, but as Scarbinsky hints that whatever recruiting faux pas Davis committed wasn’t a capital offense, it’s hard to say that’s the case.
I only mention this because it’s only natural to think Smart thinks highly of Davis, and if there isn’t any baggage coming along, well…
And that somebody is Chris Christie, pandering away.
Christie saw the video of offensive tackle prospect Laremy Tunsil apparently smoking marijuana sometime in the past through a gas mask bong, which apparently got him really, really high.
“It’s unbelievable,” Christie said. “Because the bong hits aren’t enough. Give me the gas mask too. It’s incredible. I can’t take my eyes off it. It’s unbelievable.”
For Christie the former U.S. attorney and a devout guardian of both Rutgers football and American ideals of justice, Tunsil’s actions are a grave problem.
And the governor has a strong take on what to do about it, via BuzzFeed’s Christopher Massie:
“When I was a prosecutor, I would’ve gone in and cuffed this guy,” Christie said. “I would’ve been all over it.”
That would have been fun to watch. When’s the last time Christie cuffed somebody bigger than him?