So it wasn’t fake after all.
At least the money Joe Burrow got wasn’t.
Odell Beckham Jr. caused an uproar when he was seen handing out cash to LSU players on the Superdome field after Monday’s national championship game.
Odell Beckham giving cash to Justin Jefferson since the NCAA can’t do anything about it because he’s going pro 💰 pic.twitter.com/DF53f0rbxF— aGOODoutfit (@aGOODoutfit) January 14, 2020
The NFL star and former LSU player was swept up in the joy of the moment and showed some love for his fellow Tigers while simultaneously creating anxieties about potential NCAA violations.
LSU: Nothing to see here for now
An LSU athletic official responded by telling the New Orleans Advocate that the cash was fake.
LSU associate athletic director Robert Munson doubled down on the claim on Tuesday.
“It was a joke,” Munson told reporters. “The bills were fake bills.”
Burrow: I got real cash
But Burrow, the Tigers’ Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and projected No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, has a different story. He told the “Pardon My Take” podcast (39:30, h/t NJ.com) on Tuesday that he partied with Beckham after the game — and that Beckham gave him actual cash in the celebration.
Burrow: We went out with all the former players, so that was a lot of fun.
Big Cat: Did Odell give you money?
Burrow: Umm, yeah. I’m not a student-athlete anymore, so I can say yeah. ...
Big Cat: That’s sick that he was just handing out cash. How much cash did he bring?
Burrow: I don’t know.
Note that Burrow didn’t acknowledge that the money Beckham handed out on the field to wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Jontre Kirklin was real. He only said that the money he got from Beckham was.
But come on. Are we really supposed to believe Beckham was out there handing out novelty bills?
So what, now?
Despite Munson’s proclamation on Tuesday that the bills were fake, he later announced that LSU is investigating the incident and intended to interview Jefferson and Kirklin, both juniors.
LSU released a statement on Wednesday acknowledging that “apparent cash may have also been given to LSU student-athletes.”
If it turns out the cash was real, what would it mean for the players and LSU? It’s hard to say. Jefferson told Yahoo Sports in an interview published Wednesday afternoon that he was heading to the NFL. Kirklin is a backup and presumably intends to return for another year of LSU football.
The only thing that is clear is the absurdity of the uproar caused by college football players receiving some cash to begin with.
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