Laremy Tunsil’s time at the NFL Draft may not have gone quite the way he planned, but just how much impact could Thursday’s events have on his future earnings?
The Ole Miss offensive tackle saw his value plummet after a video was posted on his Twitter account showing him smoking on a bong through a gas mask.
Tunsil had been expected to be selected by the Baltimore Ravens, but after seeing the video they switched their attentions to Ronnie Stanley.
Miami Dolphins eventually chose Tunsil as the 13th pick, saying they knew of the video and that it was filmed two years ago.
If things had gone to plan Tunsil’s projected maximum salary with the Ravens would have been around $20.4 million.
With the Dolphins he will receive in the region of $12.4 million – a cool $8 million hit in the pocket for one hit on a bong.
Sports marketing expert Bob Dorfman says the financial damage to Tunsil could stretch beyond salary alone, but believes he has a chance to redeem his reputation.
“This was unfortunate and stupid and makes him untouchable as a marketing commodity,” said Dorfman.
“Playing well and helping your team make the playoffs, all of those things can help.”
With a text message exchange between Tunsil and his Ole Miss coach also appearing on his Instagram page showing him asking for money to help pay for rent and his mother’s electric bill, the damage to his marketability is potentially massive.
In terms of sponsorships and other money-making events Dorfman believes Tunsil could lose at least another $1 million per year from his potential earnings.
Tunsil’s situation appears to mirror that of last year’s top draft pick Jameis Winston of Florida State. He has struggled to seal sponsorship deals after a string of accusations against him.
While Tunsil’s agent Jimmy Sexton was skeptical about Thursday’s events saying that it is “B.S. somebody hacked into his account” the Dolphins seemed less concerned.
Their General Manager, Chris Grier, said: “We’re very comfortable with all the information we have on the situation. We had heard rumors and we had done our research.”
Whether Tunsil can put this behind him from a financial perspective remains to be seen, but for now he has become another shining example of the potential damage that can be caused by social media.