Laremy Tunsil was expected to be the number one NFL pick in this season’s draft, but after a social media fumble portraying the athlete partaking in a bong hit, he dropped down to number 13. Tunsil, a University of Mississippi offensive tackle, was an early favorite in the NFL draft. That is before a video popped up on Twitter showing him smoking pot through a gas mask. The video clip was posted from Laremy Tunsil’s own account, an account he’s since closed, but the damage had been done. The video went viral almost immediately, reports CNN.
According to Laremy Tunsil, the bong hit video was posted to his Twitter account after it was “hacked.”
Check out the video of the bong hit that cost Laremy Tunsil his number one draft position.
LAREMY TUNSIL SMOKING OFF A GAS MASK pic.twitter.com/3hnGA9tK3r
— Kev (@ImNotLit) April 28, 2016
The viral video cost Laremy Tunsil more than just a dozen or so draft spots, though he ultimately signed on with the Miami Dolphins. The highly publicized bong hit has also likely cost the NFL rookie millions of dollars in salary and bonuses. This is because Tunsil, like all NFL rookies, will be paid on a “loose sliding scale” based off of his selection in the draft. In 2015, when first-round picks signed four-year deals complete with signing bonuses, the difference in pay between a number three pick and a number 13 pick was staggering. Based on the NFL charts detailing salary and bonuses for 2015 draftees, Laremy Tunsil’s now-public bong hit could have cost him over $12 million in salary and almost $9 million more in a signing bonus.
Laremy Tunsil explained the bong hit video in an interview with Deion Sanders after he was drafted by the Dolphins, saying it was old news and the result of a social media hack.
“Man, it was a mistake. It happened years ago. Someone had my Twitter account and that’s how it got on there.”
Unfortunately for Tunsil, Twitter wasn’t the only social media account that was hacked. After the draft and signing with the Dolphins, Laremy Tunsil’s Instagram account was also compromised. The Instagram hacker didn’t bother posting the bong hit video again, since it had already gone far and wide, but rather posted an incriminating screenshot. The screenshot allegedly shows a conversation between Laremy Tunsil and a member of the Ole Miss athletics department discussing the payment of Tunsil’s mom’s $305 utility bill.
Yeah, someone is out to get Tunsil. From his Instagram. pic.twitter.com/3ZLxvCQL4W
— Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting) April 29, 2016
After the NFL draft, the newest Miami Dolphin told the press that he’d just found out about the Instagram hack minutes before, while being interviewed on TV no less. He admitted that he’d been paid while a college football player for Ole Miss, which is a huge violation of the NCAA rules. When he was asked if he’d been paid by any coaches while a player for the university, he replied, “I’d have to say, yeah.”
“I made a mistake. That happened.”
Ole Miss also addressed the reports of NCAA rule violations by Laremy Tunsil while he was a player for their football program.
“Like we do whenever an allegation is brought to our attention or a potential violation is self-discovered, we will aggressively investigate and fully cooperate with the NCAA and the SEC.”
The NCAA refused to comment on any potential investigation when contacted by the media, but if it is discovered that Tunsil’s admission of an NCAA rule violation is credible, the school’s football program could face some pretty harsh penalties. When Laremy Tunsil was asked to comment about the matter during his Miami Dolphins press appearance, he dodged questions related to the bong hit video and the Instagram hack, saying only, “I’m here to talk about the Miami Dolphins.”
— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) April 30, 2016
This isn’t the first time Tunsil has faced an NCAA investigation for receiving “improper benefits.” In 2015 he was suspended for seven games during his third season at Ole Miss after it was determined that he’d been getting perks not allowed to college players. In that incident, he reportedly received everything from loaner vehicles to a free plane ticket — even an interest-free $3,000 loan.
After that investigation and subsequent suspension, Laremy Tunsil apologized profusely and called the incident a “learning experience.”
“”I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program.”
Tunsil is also being sued by his estranged stepfather for domestic violence and defamation, stemming from an incident last June. According to the stepfather, Laremy Tunsil attacked him. The lawsuit was filed just two days prior to the NFL draft, leading to speculation that the stepfather may be behind the social media hacks. However, Tunsil has refused to comment on the potential identity of the person who is clearly out to compromise his NFL career.
“I don’t know who did it. I don’t know what happened.”
As for the Miami Dolphins, that organization says that they feel comfortable signing Laremy Tunsil despite the bong hit viral video, saying that because it was an incident from years ago, they’re not worried about it.
[Image Courtesy Of AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis]