After video surfaced Thursday on Twitter of former Ole Miss football star Laremy Tunsil smoking from a bong, followed by two posts on Instagram appearing to show him asking an Ole Miss athletics employee for money, the former Rebel's stock in the NFL Draft tumbled.
"It should be obvious to anyone with a second-grade education that this was a hatchet job," said Steve Farese, who serves as Tunsil's attorney.
Farese said it's appalling that people have latched onto the controversy and run with it, when according to him, no one's saying a word about the criminal act itself: the apparent hacking of Tunsil's social media accounts.
"It's easy to place blame in other areas. I'm just disappointed that the ESPN folks would concentrate on this in destroying what should have been the happiest day of his life," Farese said.
He chalks up the video, which shows Tunsil smoking something from a bong while wearing a gas mask, to experimentation some students choose when they go to college.
"I'm not saying that the gas mask [video] itself isn't troubling to some, but you know, if everybody who smoked marijuana voted for me for president, I would be your next president," Farese said.
The Instagram posts appear to show screenshots of a series of text messages between Tunsil and a member of the Ole Miss athletics staff, John Miller.
The subject matter: Tunsil asking Miller for help to pay his rent and his mother's electricity bill.
Though the posts themselves have not been independently verified, Tunsil confirmed to reporters on draft night that he took cash from an Ole Miss coach.
Farese already represents Tunsil in a civil suit filed by Tunsil's stepfather over defamation and domestic violence allegations, and he's prepared to represent his client again in this case.
"If we learn of the parties responsible, then I would assume that I would represent him in another civil suit and hope that these people also would be criminally prosecuted," Farese said.
An attorney for Tunsil's stepfather has denied any involvement in hacking the football star's Twitter and Instagram accounts.