The 2016 NFL Draft kicked off last night, and just as the festivities got started, so did a social media firestorm when the Twitter account of top pick Laremy Tunsil was hacked. Laremy Tunsil the former Ole Miss offensive tackle was projected to be the 3rd selection and the “first real pick” 2016 NFL Draft, according to the SB Nation. Just minutes before the draft began, at 7:48 PM, a video of what appears to be Tunsil smoking an unknown substance surfaced on his Twitter account, @KingTunsil78.
Tunsil received news of this Tweet while in the green room at the draft, and quickly despite taking quick action to apologize for the video, the damage was done. NFL reporter, Aditi Kinkhabwala Tweeted that the Baltimore Ravens took Tunsil off their board entirely after that video, which would have been the 5th pick of the draft. The Miami Dolphins took Tunsil as the 13th pick, which will bring in roughly $12.4M. While nothing to sneeze at, that amount pales in comparison to the approximate $20.4M he could have earned with the Ravens.
Later in the evening as Tunsil was getting ready to be interviewed, he received more bad news that his Instagram account had also been hacked, this time posting screenshots of a conversation between himself and John Miller asking for help paying rent and help paying his mom’s electric and water utility bills. Although this would be technically against the rules, the general sentiment on social media is that the NCAA makes so much money off of the players, it’s embarrassing to the organization that one of their players would ever have to be worried about paying rent or helping family out.
Early this morning, DeadSpin broke the news that an unknown person had been “trying to sell that video for weeks,” and that on or about April 12, 2016, staff at DeadSpin received a cagy email from an account with the name “Laremy Tunsil” offering a “40 sec video of Projected top 5 pick in the 2016 NFL draft smoking drugs (crack or weed) from gas mask. Looking to sell.” Three screenshots from the video that was leaked were also sent, but since a college kid smoking pot is not news, DeadSpin was not interested.
Many speculate that it was Tunsil’s step-father, Lindsey Miller, behind the malicious attack. Dion Sanders asked Tunsil during an interview if it was his step-father but Tunsil did not confirm. Coincidentally, Miller filed a civil lawsuit late Tuesday afternoon in Mississippi seeking monetary damages for defamation and “pain and suffering”. This suit stems from a domestic incident in June 2015 where Tunsil defended his mother after Miller shoved her, however when Police were called to the scene, Miller alleged that Tunsil’s attack was un-provoked and pressed charges against him. Tunsil and his Mother filed charges against Miller the next morning. Both sides later dropped the charges.
The person responsible for compromising Tunsil’s social media is still unknown, but it is apparent that the motive was an attempt to damage the offensive tackle’s reputation the point of career sabotage. Although Tunsil may have missed out on a higher rookie salary, the only reputation that ended up severely damaged is whomever launched this malicious attack.