The Miami Dolphins have a penchant for drafting or trading for football players with a known history of marijuana drug abuse. First there was Ricky Williams, a star running back the Dolphins traded for who played three drug-plagued seasons with the Dolphins before retiring after testing positive for marijuana three times. After a one-year suspension he again tested positive for marijuana a fourth time.
Now, as Yogi Berra coined the phrase, “It is deja vu all over again,” for the Dolphins after they drafted University of Mississippi all-American Laremy Tunsil with their thirteenth pick in the first round of the NFL Draft last night. Moments before the draft began a tweet containing a video of Tunsil smoking marijuana from a gas mask attached to a bong surfaced from his Twitter account and went viral. This development sabotaged Tunsil’s chance of being selected with the third pick – as previously predicted by draft experts.
After the news of the marijuana episode, the situation became even more dire for Tunsil. The Clarion-Ledger reported that an anonymous hacker used the night of the NFL draft to try to take down Laremy Tunsil and the Ole Miss football program.
When you thought the story had ended it apparently just begun.The hacker then proceeded to illegally access Tunsil’s Instagram account. On Tunsil’s Instagram profile they posted screenshots of alleged text messages between Tunsil and John Miller, Ole Miss’ assistant athletic director for football operations, in which Tunsil asks for money to pay for some of his bills.
At the NFL Draft press conference, Tunsil, admitted that he took money from a coach while he was a player at Ole Miss.”I’d have to say yeah,” Tunsil said when asked by a reporter if he took money from a coach.
Today, Tunsil had a medical situation and did not appear at his introductory Miami Dolphin; press conference. Tunsil landed in South Florida from the NFL draft in Chicago and purportedly suffered an allergic reaction, according to Dolphins vice president Mike Tannenbaum. It was another twist to the story that has been gyrating out of control ever since the video surfaced last night.
Even after the news on Tunsil escalated into new areas of concern, the Miami Dolphin brass doubled down on their previous upbeat comments about Tunsil the night before in Chicago. “We felt good about his character,” Tannenbaum said. “Obviously there were some mistakes he made in his past. We were comfortable with that.”
Tunsil’s off-the-field issues first surfaced last year after he was suspended seven games for accepting improper benefits while attending the University of Mississippi. The NCAA reported that Tunsil improperly used three loaner cars without paying for them. The NCAA initially launched the investigation after growing suspicious when Tunsil and his stepfather, Lindsey Miller, filed domestic charges against each other last year.
It was a he said she said investigation. Tunsil claimed that he attacked Miller after his stepfather assaulted his mother, Desiree Polingo. Miller said Tunsil’s attack was unprovoked and that he was trying to stop his stepson’s contact with agents. The criminal charges against both men were dropped in August.
As far as criticizing Tunsil’s judgement throughout this whole two-year fiasco – you have to question the Dolphins as well for drafting him in the first place. It is quite clear that they did not learn from a previous draft pick debacle three years ago. At that time, the Dolphins traded up to select Dion Jordan third overall, only to have him spend the majority of the past two seasons suspended because of multiple failed drug tests.
Apparently, folks on social media were more forgiving than the NFL teams who balked at drafting Tunsil. Inspirations for Youth and Families teen drug rehab asked its social media followers if the Dolphins should have drafted Tunsil after his marijuana smoking video was released on social media and the answer was a resounding yes.
“People are making a big deal that in the next 10-20 years will be treated the same as alcohol,” said Manny Serpa on Instagram. “So because an amazingly talented college football player drafted early in the first-round smoking pot you guys think he shouldn’t be allowed to play and no team will take him.”
It is too early to tell how this story will unfold. It is possible Tunsil will leave all his troubles behind and have a successful rookie season and career with the Dolphins. What makes this story bizarre is that the Dolphins continue to follow the same pattern selecting players with drug abuse issues and continue to get burned by these high risk moves.