Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(DAVIE, Fla.) — Miami Dolphins officials defended their first-round draft pick Laremy Tunsil on Friday after a video surfaced of the football player smoking from a bong, with the team saying “mistakes were made” but adding him to the roster was a “no brainer.”
Tunsil, who played for Ole Miss, was expected to be one of the first players selected in the NFL draft, but sank down to the No. 13 pick after the video was posted to his verified Twitter account Thursday.
After Tunsil was selected by the Dolphins, he admitted to taking the video at a press conference Thursday night, but said somebody hacked his account. Also in question is an Instagram picture of a text conversation Tunsil had with an Ole Miss football staff member, in which he asked for money. Tunsil admitted to taking money from a coach after a reporter asked him about it Thursday night, saying his Instagram account had been hacked, too.
On Friday, Dolphin officials told reporters that they had spoken with Tunsil’s high school and college coaches and that they were familiar with the video. Because they had researched Tunsil before their pick, they said, “We’re very comfortable with Laremy — the player and the person.”
“There have been some bumps in the road,” the officials said, adding “moving forward, we’re excited that he’s here.”
Tunsil did not attend the Dolphin’s first news conference due to an allergic reaction, team officials said. He spoke to the press later in the afternoon, but declined to address the scandal.
“I’m here to talk about the Miami Dolphins,” Tunsil said. “It’s a blessing just to be here.”
No official records have been presented that support Tunsil’s claim that his Twitter account was hacked, ABC News learned. Police in Oxford, Mississippi, where the video that appears to show him smoking from a bong would most likely have been taken, and in Chicago, Illinois, where the draft took place, say Tunsil did not file a formal complaint after he told reporters his account had been hacked.
The NFL has not commented on Tunsil’s claims and declined to say whether the league has decided to ask law enforcement to get involved. Special Agent Jason Pack of the FBI in Jackson said, “The FBI is not currently involved in the matter and has not heard from anyone involved in the incident.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday morning he wasn’t aware of the Tunsil controversy until later Thursday night — after the player appeared on stage. “It’s all part of what makes the draft so exciting,” Goodell said on ESPN’s Mike & Mike radio show Friday morning, adding, “hopefully he will be a great young player.”
“I made that mistake several years ago. Somehow somebody got into my photos and hacked my Twitter account,” Tunsil told reporters Thursday night. “Apparently somebody just hacked my Instagram account so it’s getting crazy.”
“I don’t know who did it, I don’t know what happened,” he added.
“I made a mistake, you know, things happen. I can’t control things hacking my Twitter, my Instagram,” he said. “I’m just happy just to be part of the Miami Dolphins organization.”
Miami Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier said Thursday night, “We had known about it. The video is two years old. So, from all the information we had, we were comfortable with it.”
Grier said he didn’t think Tunsil would be available at the No. 13. pick.
“He was No. 2 ranked on our board,” Grier said. “We did not expect him to be there.”
“He’s a smart kid. He’s very football intelligent,” Grier added. “There’s no doubt that this guy loves football and football is very important to him. So for us, we are very comfortable.”
Ole Miss said in a statement: “The University is aware of the reports from the NFL Draft regarding Laremy Tunsil and potential NCAA violations during his time at Ole Miss. Like we do whenever an allegation is brought to our attention or a potential violation is self-discovered, we will aggressively investigate and fully cooperate with the NCAA and the SEC.”
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Read More →