One of the unfortunate results of new technology is that a person’s worst moments live on video forever. The beating used to live only in the memories of the people who witnessed it, but with camera phones the whole world can now watch on demand as someone gets stamped.
Laremy Tunsil’s moment cost him millions of dollars.
Minutes before the start of the 2016 NFL Draft, a Video of Tunsil smoking out of a gas mask bong – what we can only assume is weed – and giggling, found its way to his Twitter account. To date, Tunsil says he did not post the video. He was hacked. Regardless, the incident resulted in him being included in the draft, even though national perceptions of marijuana use were rapidly changing. Tunsil’s design projection was the #1 overall selection. In the end, he was picked 13th by the Miami Dolphins.
He’s since been traded to the Houston Texans in 2019, a year that saw him make the first of two Pro Bowls (he made it again in 2020), and is currently in the final year of a three-year extension he signed in 2020 to pay him $66 million, $50 million guaranteed.
Tunsil decided to generate some extra income by turning this awkward day into an investment.
Tunsil announced on Twitter that he is releasing a standalone version of this video as an NFT, with a portion of the proceeds from the purchase of the NFT being donated to the Last Prisoner Project – a non-profit organization helping people who have been criminalized for their cannabis use .
While I’m still torn as to whether it was best for him to announce this just before draft or on April 20th, this is a spectacular idea. If your account was hacked and a video was posted that hurt your professional earning potential, try to get some of it back. If I had the money to bid on this I would definitely throw one in. That would be way better than a highlight of a game-winning shot from six years ago or one of those Nikes crypto kicks that costs thousands of dollars.
This video would be quite the talking point at parties if you fancy going to these things after over a year without them. Let’s say it’s a break during game night and you’re stuck in awkward small talk with three people you’ve never met in your life.
“So, remember that video of the NFL player who was caught video smoking out of a bong just before the draft?”
“Something like that. The gas mask right? If he’s a professional athlete, at least he’s pushing things to the max.”
“I own this video.”
“He sold it to me.”
“Hey, admit your mistakes properly.”
This is something that more people who have dealt with public shame on video should definitely do. Nick Young, aka Swaggy P, was scheduled to do an NFT of the video D’Angelo Russell took of him ending his relationship with Iggy Azalea and Russell’s tenure with the Lakers. Michelle Williams was supposed to make one of the time she fell when Destiny’s Child performed at 106 & Park. Imagine how much money Chris Rock could make if he had five NFTs where Will Smith slapped him in front of a billion people at the Oscars. Or how about an NFT from Janet Jackson’s “Closet Malfunction”? Fuck a lawsuit, become the entrepreneur of your disgrace.
As for the last two, I’m not sure how copyright laws work with them, but you get what I mean. Tunsil has opened up a completely new marketplace. Literally own your shame. So, if one night you have a few too many and you end up with a fresh glow under your eyes because you’re mouthing too much and you’re unfortunately going viral, don’t sweat it. The more million views, the better. Your eye may look ridiculous for a week, but after that you can afford a nice pair of sunglasses.
It’s a brave new world out there. Your embarrassment can become your big payday.