NEW ORLEANS (AP)A misdemeanor simple battery warrant has been issued for Cleveland Browns wide receiver and former LSU star Odell Beckham Jr., police in New Orleans said Thursday.
The warrant comes as video posted on social media appears to show Beckham swatting a security officer’s buttocks during LSU’s locker room victory celebration after Monday night’s college national championship game in the Superdome.
“We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter,”the Browns said in a statement. “They are cooperating with authorities to appropriately address the situation.”
LSU players were seen smoking cigars – forbidden in the Superdome – in pictures from the Monday night celebration. Authorities reportedly warned them they could face arrest.
In a 27-second videoavailable on Twitter, a security officer is seen standing over an LSU player sitting on a locker room bench. The officer appears to be searching around the bench and pointing to the floor. He can be heard talking about a “burn mark” just before Beckham approaches him from behind and appears to swat his backside.
The arrest warrant follows another post-game controversy involving Beckham.
LSU has acknowledged contacting officials from the NCAA and Southeastern Conference about Beckham apparently handing out cash to Tigers players on the field after the national championship game.
LSU athletics spokesman Michael Bonnette said initial information suggested that Beckham handed out “novelty bills” to players after LSU defeated Clemson on Monday night. However, further investigation showed that Beckham may have given away real money, Bonnette said earlier this week.
“We were in contact with the NCAA and the SEC immediately upon learning of this situation in which some of our student-athletes may have been placed in a compromising position,” Bonnette said.
Beckham, who is from New Orleans, had an interesting first season with the Browns, who acquired him in March from the New York Giants in a blockbuster trade.
The 27-year-old three-time Pro Bowler skipped most of the team’s preseason training camp and his absence may have contributed to him seeming to be out of sync with quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Beckham played most of the season with a sports hernia injury that may require surgery. Despite not being completely healthy, he still played in all 16 games and finished with 74 catches for 1,035 yards. However, he had just four touchdowns, his fewest in a full season.
The flashy wide receiver was fined by the NFL for wearing an expensive watch during a game and was asked by officials to change his helmet visor as well as cleats that did not conform to league rules.
Late in the season, as the Browns were falling from playoff contention, Beckham dismissed reports he was telling opposing players to “come get me” during games. Beckham said he had no intention of leaving the Browns and was committed to helping them win while playing alongside Jarvis Landry, his best friend and former college teammate.
Withers reported from Cleveland.