New Orleans police issued a warrant for the arrest of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Thursday after the receiver slapped the behind of a police officer in the LSU locker room following the college football national championship game Monday, according to NOLA.com.
Beckham was seen in a viral video approaching a male officer from behind while the officer was chastising players for smoking cigars inside the locker room.
The officer clearly appeared to be unhappy with Beckham after the slap, but the situation did not escalate on the video. Beckham, a former LSU player, was enthusiastically involved with the championship celebration, dancing around the field and locker room, and handing out cash to some players after the game.
OBJ wasn’t gonna let that officer spoil the fun.. told him to get the gat. 🤣 https://t.co/sWoWj53r42— 🕊 (@🕊) 1579034048.0
According to NOLA.com, police initially wanted to issue a warrant for sexual battery, but a judge rejected that so they settled for simple battery.
Sexual battery would've been a more serious charge, particularly because it cannot be expunged for first-time offenders the way simple battery can be. Sexual battery is defined in Louisiana as "intentional touching of the breasts or buttocks of a victim who did not consent to the contact." Both sexual and simple battery carry maximum sentences of six months in jail.
Beckham's NFL team, the Cleveland Browns, issued a statement.
"We are aware of the incident and have been in touch with Odell and his representatives on the matter," the team said. "They are cooperating with the proper authorities to appropriately address the situation."
One officer in the locker room, apparently the one who was spanked by Beckham, was telling LSU players they were subject to arrest for smoking victory cigars in the locker room. Another officer, however, gave the players permission to smoke them, and no players were arrested.