An arrest warrant has been issued by New Orleans police for Cleveland Browns’ star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. after a video emerged showing the NFL superstar appearing to slap a security guard on the backside.
Beckham is being sought in connection to ‘simple battery’ charges following a locker room altercation captured on camera which appears to show him slapping a security guard on his rear end inside the Superdome following LSU’s college football championship victory against Clemson on Monday.
A spokesperson for the police outlined that the arrest warrant had been okayed by a judge, after a similar request to seek a warrant for a misdemeanour sexual battery charge had been declined by the judiciary.
The video shows a Superdome security guard in a verbal altercation with LSU offensive lineman Damian Lewis, before Beckham – a graduate of LSU – appears to strike him gently on his buttocks, prompting him to turn around and face Beckham. The two then have a brief exchange, the audio of which isn’t captured in the video.
Louisiana statute defines simple battery as when battery is committed against a person without their express consent. The maximum punishment is a fine of $1,000 (€898) and imprisonment for six months.
“We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter,” the Cleveland Browns announced in a statement on Thursday. “They are cooperating with the proper authorities to appropriately address the situation.”
The incident followed LSU’s 42-25 win against Clemson in college football’s showpiece game this week.
Several players were reportedly smoking victory cigars in the changing room following the game, with police telling the team that anyone found to be doing so would be immediately subject to arrest. However, a second officer is understood to have entered the locker room to tell players that they would no be arrested for smoking the cigars.
Beckham Jr. found himself in hot water earlier this week after he was shown handing out wads of cash to LSU players following their win. It was initially said that the money was counterfeit but LSU quarterback Joe Burrow said on a US podcast that the cash was indeed real.
Handing payments to players is a direct violation of NCAA bylaws which state that college athletes are forbidden from making money due to their role within college football.