The Houston Texans lineman lost millions on NFL Draft Day 2016 after a leaked video showed him using a weed mask
With the 2022 NFL Draft kicking off tonight, one league veteran is reclaiming the narrative of one of the most infamous draft days dramas of all time.
Back in 2016, University of Mississippi stand out Laremy Tunsil was projected to be a top five pick. But he slid all the way to 13 after his social media accounts were hacked minutes before the draft began. Tunsil’s verified Twitter account released a video him smoking “an unknown substance” through a gas mask bong.
Tunsil’s representatives said the accounts were hacked, and a subsequent post to his Instagram account hinted that fans of a rival university were responsible. In 2021, Tunsil told Complex that his draft night was “probably one of the worst feelings I ever experienced in my life.”
The Miami Dolphins eventually picked him at 13. The team said they knew about the video already, and that it was recorded two years before the draft. But Tunsil still paid dearly for the incident. Since the NFL pays rookies based on where they are picked, the leaked video and lower placement in the draft cost him millions.
The NFT’s description explains: “The token is issued with the support of the video’s original owner, Laremy Tunsil, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Last Prisoner project. The video was released without Laremy’s consent on draft night in 2016 forever changing the course of Laremy’s future… The owner of this token will forever own a unique piece of draft memorabilia.”
Taking the high road
Tunsil persevered through the tough break, and became a highly respected NFL vet (and member of our Leafly All-Reefer Fantasy Football team). His stellar performance on the field has helped normalize cannabis use for athletes in all sports, disproving the tired notion that winners don’t smoke weed.
Ricky Williams, a fellow NFL standout and All-Reefer team member, knows all about it. “Being an athlete growing up, it was two parts: One, you gotta be good at your sport. But two, you gotta be good,” Williams said on the No Jumper podcast earlier this year. “You gotta stay outta trouble. And that means stay away from drugs. I was trying to make it in the sports path so I stayed away from drugs.”
The NFL and most other sports leagues have stopped testing players for THC during the offseason, and many have stopped THC testing altogether. That’s not to say athletes are no longer penalized. Olympians Sha’Carri Richardson and Brittney Griner have both dealt with harsh consequences connected to cannabis, showing that we still have a long way to go in normalizing the plant for all.
Click here to take a shot at owning Tunsil’s exclusive NFT bong mask. And keep reading to see how he and other NFL veterans are working to normalize the plant for players in all sports.
“I’m officially moving on and putting this moment in the past,” Tunsil tweeted after minting his new token. “A portion of the proceeds will benefit @lastprisonerprj which supports those incarcerated for cannabis offenses,” he added.
NFL’s Marvin Washington helped pave the way
Scientists are finally studying how weed impacts professional and amateur athletes. But anecdotal data from athletes who had to consume in the shadows because of rules and stigmas are also valuable to our understanding.
11-year NFL veteran Marvin Washington is an ambassador for the Last Prisoner Project in his home state of New Jersey. Washington was the ceremonial first customer at The Botanist dispensary last week, where he told Leafly more about the struggle to overcome weed stigmas in sports.
The veteran defensive lineman gravitated toward the plant because of the medicinal benefits he noticed while playing. “It’s natural, it’s non-toxic, it’s non-addictive. And it has so many benefits [for me] coming from the athletic arena. It’s a big benefit versus the opiates, and benzodiazepines and synthetic drugs that are poisoning this country.”
NFLer Ricky Williams’ journey from Heisman to Highsman
NFL and NCAA record-breaker Ricky Williams got blunt recently about his experience using the plant as an elite athlete. He revealed he smoked before some of his most historic games in college, and that he got caught in the NFL’s substance abuse program because of a misunderstanding about testing schedules when he changed teams.
Williams says his legendary senior season started rough on and off the field. His girlfriend broke up with him and got with the team’s quarterback. So he was feeling down on himself, and it showed on the field. Then his roommate pulled a bong out and set him on a historic path.
Decades after winning college football’s prestigious Heisman trophy, Williams is now running the Highsman brand, which specializes in cannabis products for sports fans to use while viewing. The products come endorsed by the biggest names across the world of sports, and could help put bud on the same level as beer across athletics.