Another year, another college football player posing with a wad of cash.
This time, it's incoming Alabama defensive lineman Dee Liner, who fell victim to the immediacy of social media and sent the Internet into a frenzy over the weekend.
Liner took to Twitter in what appears to be an attempt to silence the critics:
Don't judge me when u have no clue what I have been through!!!— Dee Liner ✈ (@Liner_25) July 28, 2013
The criticism that inevitably will come in the wake of the picture has nothing to do with what he's been through or what he's about to go through. It has everything to do with common sense.
Whether Liner received the money legally or it was part of some grand underground scheme Alabama players use to get paid doesn't matter. It's a bad look for Liner and puts Alabama in a precarious position.
In today's landscape of college football, where players aren't paid aside from the goods and services received through the athletic scholarship, fanning $100 bills for social media is essentially inviting the NCAA to come down from Indianapolis and check out the situation.
That's generally a bad idea, because a clean FBS college football program is like a unicorn or Sasquatch. It's a myth.
To compound issues for Liner, he was already the subject of one of the more heated recruiting battles of the last recruiting cycle. A longtime Auburn commit, Alabama came on strong, got Liner to decommit from the Tigers in January and signed the 247 Sports 4-star prospect on national signing day.
Liner isn't the first to flash cash on the Internet.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel celebrated his Cotton Bowl victory by winning big on a trip to an 18-and-over casino in Oklahoma. Incoming Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell made waves before national signing day with his picture of cash. Former Clemson running back Mike Bellamy made the same mistake in 2011. The NCAA even interviewed former Auburn tight end Dakota Mosley after a photo surfaced of him holding cash, according to ESPN.com.
Why does this keep happening?
College football players have built up huge followings on Twitter and Instagram, and some even promote their accounts to gain followers. Acting responsibly on the Internet is important, and posting a picture of yourself holding cash when you know you're not allowed to be compensated is irresponsible.
But Liner flashing cash isn't like the silly scandals that have plagued Manziel. It's inviting people to connect dots that can lead to a bad place. Manziel was gambling—legally—when his image went viral; Liner hasn't offered an explanation.
It's instances like Liner flashing cash that make it easy for coaches to ban their players' use of social media.
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