Tunil’s Draft Night Blunder; Totally Surprising?

Christian Milcos, Editor-In-Chief

The presumed number 1 pick of the 2016 NFL draft, Laremy Tunsil, fell dramatically to the 13th spot after being picked by the Miami Dolphins. This was in contrast to most draft experts, projecting a selection at 6th by the Baltimore Ravens as a worst case scenario for the left tackle out of Ole Miss. This fall resulted in Tunsil losing millions of dollars and left many wondering; what caused this player, who was considered the best talent in the draft, to fall several spots lower than expected?

10 minutes before the draft was set to open in Chicago, Tunsil’s social media accounts were hacked and a video him using illegal substances was released to the world, including teams who were considering taking him. Chaos ensued as teams passed on Tunsil who was shown in tears on ESPN until the Miami Dolphins selected him with the 13th pick.

Laremy’s representatives reportedly preached to teams through the entirety of draft night that Tunsil had not personally posted the video as his account was hacked. Whether or not his account was hacked does not change the fact that he is the one seen smoking in the video. Some analysts have argued since that he was simply unlucky, and that many college athletes partake in illegal activities. Nonetheless, Tunsil will not be able use this as an excuse as he appears to have a worse track record than many perceived.

One of the most important steps to take when one is in the public eye is to surround oneself with trustworthy, loyal people. A few days after the draft, reports came out that Tunsil’s lawyer uncovered the identity of the hacker as a former financial advisor. This advisor must have had a clear motive to ruin the most important day of Tunsil’s life. Whether it was how Tunsil treated him while they were partnered, or the way he was fired, there was a clear disconnect that had occurred. Furthermore, Tunsil should have been more responsible with whom he distributed his social media passwords and account information. A responsible pro athlete would have limited access to his or her accounts to trustworthy individuals.

Only adding fuel to the fire, 2 days after the draft Tunsil’s Instagram account was hacked and screenshots of a text conversation between him and Ole Miss assistant athletic director, John Miller, were posted. In the screenshot Tunsil asks for rent money for both him and his mother. In the leaked screenshots Mr. Miller responds by telling Laremy to see Barney, another assistant athletic director, presumably for a check. Soliciting money to a student athlete is in extreme violation of NCAA policy and can result in several repercussions. The violation itself is not very uncommon for colleges with competitive athletic programs, but the issue lies more in Laremy’s laziness. This incident shows that the hacker whether his former finical adviser or not, has access to Tunsil’s text messages. This is another huge mistake for any celebrity as every action becomes highly scrutinized by the public once one is a competitive athlete.

Tunsil also made several mistakes before the draft, none of which have been discussed when talking about his off the field actions. 2 days before the draft Laremy was sued by his stepfather on charges of assault and battery. This was after much tension between the 2 leading to an altercation in June of 2015. Charges were then dropped by both parties in August until Lindsey Miller, Tunsil’s estranged stepfather, brought the charges back to court this April when Tunsil certainly did not need any negative press. Whether the timing of the resurrection of this case was intentional or not, it still sheds light on the fact that Tunsil did have issues before the infamous video was released on draft night.

In addition, Tunsil was accused of accepting improper benefits from his agents by Miller which caused him to be suspended for half of his lone season at Ole Miss. This made him ineligible for postseason awards and the NFL combine. This was another act of carelessness by Laremy Tunsil which only added to his rough off the field record.

Football fans may look at Tunsil’s selection on draft night as one of the greatest falls in NFL draft history, but perhaps it wasn’t drastic compared to where teams actually rated him. Mock draft experts were the main factor that initiated Tunsil’s hype but nobody had insight as to where teams actually valued him. The process of selecting a player in the NFL draft is an extensive one, especially for a first round pick that takes months to plan and often requires diving deep into a player’s backgrounds. Tunsil may have had the most pure football talent out of anyone in the 2016 NFL draft but what is the motivation for these teams to select him if he will be haunted by chronic off the field issues. The charges he is facing could result in jail time. Nevertheless, Laremy Tunil’s fall was a result of bad decision making off the field, and should be a lesson for any athlete looking to play at the professional level.