The security guard who was involved in a butt-slapping incident with Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has reportedly decided not to press charges against Beckham.
JUST IN: In the Odell Beckham Jr. butt-slap saga, Superdome officer chooses not to press charges, source says— NOLA.com (@NOLAnews) January 18, 2020
Incident occurred in LSU locker room as Tigers celebrated national championship in New Orleans.
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According to the report, sometime on Friday the 48-year-old security guard signed an affidavit stating he did not wish to press charges against Beckham. The New Orleans Police Department now has to determine if it will rescind the warrant against Beckham, which it can do because the victim in the case does not believe the incident is a criminal matter.
The warrant, which was issued on Thursday, charged Beckham with a count of simple battery after Beckham appeared to slap the guard’s buttocks while celebrating with LSU players in the locker room following Monday night’s national championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
It sounds like cooler heads are starting to prevail in the matter, which is good news for Beckham. Earlier in the day on Friday, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro was urging Beckham to turn himself in to police and get the matter resolved, according to The Times-Picayune.
“It’s very disturbing to me, I will be very candid with you about that. At a time when we should be celebrating in my opinion, probably one of the greatest football teams in the history of America, probably one of the best quarterbacks we’ve ever seen in the history of this country, a great coaching staff, when all of the focus should be on these young men and their accomplishments, unfortunately we see this very, very silly and uncalled-for event by someone that has now caused the whole focus of what should be a celebratory event to be now sanctioned and to be scrutinized now by LSU, to be scrutinized by the SEC, by the NCAA, by the NFL and now our police department and ultimately this office.
“So again, I have not made any disposition, but as a citizen I am disturbed and sort of put out by this event.’’
Beckham may have moved a step closer to avoiding legal punishment in New Orleans, but there is a possibility that NFL officials may want to have a word with him.
That, at least, is the speculation of Tulane Sports Law Professor Gabe Feldman, who spoke with 4WWL news about the incident:
”The commissioner has the power to punish athletes who engage in conduct detrimental to the league, and I think under most people’s definition of conduct detrimental it would include slapping a police officer. That could rise to the level conduct that is punishable whether that’s through a fine or through a suspension, we’ll see.”
Beckham should not have done what he did, even in the midst of a celebration it should be obvious that you don’t slap someone in a security guard uniform. But the idea of the league office punishing him for something that was clearly done in jest seems like it could be a bit of a stretch.
While the news that the security guard is reportedly not pressing charges is good, it may not be time to close the book on this particular incident just yet.