New Orleans police were granted an arrest warrant for Odell Beckham Jr. over an accusation of simple battery after he slapped the buttocks of an officer following LSU’s national championship victory over Clemson.
A police spokesperson told Ramon Antonio Vargas and Carlie Wells of NOLA.com that police sought charges after video surfaced of the incident on social media. In the video, Beckham is shown slapping the officer and saying “get the gat” repeatedly.
Court records show the lieutenant said he resisted the urge to punch Beckham in retaliation, per Vargas.
The Browns also released a statement on the situation:
The officer appeared to speak to Beckham, but his words could not be heard on the video.
Wells and Vargas reported police “originally sought a warrant for a misdemeanor sexual battery charge,” but it was declined. Simple battery is a misdemeanor crime that carries up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
The major difference between the two charges is that sexual battery cannot be expunged, whereas simple battery can.
Beckham’s postgame antics drew national headlines when he gave several LSU players wads of cash on the field after the Tigers’ 42-25 victory. The Cleveland Browns star played at LSU from 2011-2013 before being taken by the New York Giants in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
It’s possible that Beckham violated NCAA rules by handing the players cash.
Michael Cassagrande of AL.com reported Tuesday that LSU players were told they would be arrested for smoking cigars in the locker room during the celebrations. No players were arrested, and social media videos showed players continued to smoke despite the warning. Another officer reportedly gave the players approval to smoke.