“Smoke ’em if you got ’em!” yelled one victorious member of the NCAA football national champion Louisiana State Tigers. If you do, however, don’t let the police catch you. One overeager officer threatened to arrest several players for their celebratory stogies, a threat which fortunately never materialized:
A police officer threw water on the party when telling the national champions they could not smoke the cigars that burned for easily 15 minutes after beating Clemson.
In fact, the officer announced to the players any smoking cigars in the locker room would be subject to arrest. Several players holding stogies laughed at the warning like it was a joke but the cop wasn’t smiling.
Another officer tried to tell them it was OK to celebrate with a smoke in the locker room but he insisted his commander told him it was a no-go.
Nobody was arrested.
In fact, no one seemed bothered by the threat, as the video below demonstrates. Starting QB Joe Burrow, whose next destination might well be Cincinnati in the NFL draft, soaked up the winning atmosphere while he still can, along with some fine cigar smoke. And he wasn’t the only one, either:
You can’t blame LSU for feeling a bit untouchable late Monday night.
The Tigers had just steamrolled Clemson in the national championship game, ending that program’s 29-game winning streak and capping off a record season that starred Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow.
So a celebration was in order. One that included victory cigars in the locker room.
Except at least one police officer at the Superdome wasn’t in on the party, threatening to arrest those lighting up. According to AL.com, several players laughed while holding their stogies.
The police may have responded to complaints about the smoke from others inside and just outside the locker room. Twitchy notes that a handful of reporters complained about the “unbelievably smoky” atmosphere, calling it “suffocating.” Undoubtably the facility has a no-smoking policy backed by either state or local ordinance; few places in the country lack either or both. Technically speaking, the police were correct to notify the players of that violation.
But still, to quote Sigmund Freud (perhaps apocryphally), sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Police could simply have issued a summons for an infraction if they wanted to enforce that regulation rather than tell a group of celebrating players that they might haul them off to the hoosegow over it. There is a grand tradition of celebrating accomplishments with cigars amongst one’s comrades, and one cigar never killed anyone. (And it beats another alternative, alcohol, which occasionally does.) Enforcing the law means doing so in a manner which brings it credibility rather than disrepute, and at least one officer did know the difference between the two.
So smoke ’em if you got ’em, gentlemen. And try not to think too hard about the NFL draft order coming up in the spring.