A redshirt sophomore LSU running back is facing illegal gambling charges for providing a Baton Rouge casino a fake identification to gain access.
Lanard Fournette, 20, of Slidell, Louisiana, allegedly gambled at a craps table around 1:30 pm on Monday afternoon. When he went to the cage to cash out, he provided his real identification card to the cashier, who noticed he was underage.
Fournette was detained by casino security, but left the premise before Louisiana State Police arrived. He was later booked, and charged with using a fake ID to gamble. His bond was set at $1,000.
“Coach Ed Orgeron is aware of the incident,” LSU athletics spokesman Michael Bonnette told The Advocate, a daily newspaper in Baton Rouge. “He will be disciplined internally.”
Lanard is the younger brother of Leonard Fournette, a former LSU standout who played the same position. Leonard was one of the top players in all of college football during his three years at the school, and was drafted #4 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. Last week, he signed a four-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars worth $27.15 million with a $17.9 million signing bonus.
Football and Gambling
The NFL has long opposed gambling, and bans its professional athletes from entering sportsbooks during the regular season. Calls have emanated for the league to scale back its hard-nosed defense to casinos, predominantly due to the Oakland Raiders successfully filing for relocation to Las Vegas. But the truth of the matter is that football players and casinos often don’t mix well.
Fournette’s story this week pales in comparison to others who have stepped on the gridiron, and on the gambling floor.
The most notorious incident in recent memory is the 2014 case surrounding former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice. Surveillance video caught the running back assaulting his then-finance in a resort elevator. Both highly intoxicated, Rice’s attack knocked his now-wife unconscious.
Rice was initially suspended by the NFL for only two games. But after additional security footage surfaced, which showed Rice dragging the woman out of the elevator, the Ravens released their three-time Pro Bowler and he hasn’t played a game since.
Though it didn’t take place inside a casino, Michael Vick’s past is equally horrific, if not more so. Few NFL fans will ever forget the former Atlanta Falcons star’s running of an illegal dog fighting gambling ring on the grounds of his Virginia mansion back in 2007. His later federal conviction of operating an unlawful interstate dog fighting enterprise landed him 18 months in prison.
However, America likes a good second chance story, and Vick would go on to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles and win Comeback Player of the Year in 2010.
Over the Top
On a lighter note, the most recent NFL gambling “scandal” took place inside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last month. Numerous players participated in an arm wrestling challenge that is scheduled to air on CBS at a later date.
NFL rules prohibits players from participating in events that “promote casino activities.” The league is currently investigating.