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Former NFL player accused of hate hoax after small businesses are trashed

The former Seattle Seahawk didn’t have much of a game plan here.

The only thing worse than committing a hate crime is pretending to be the victim of one for attention or financial gain.

This was infamously the case with Empire actor Jussie Smollett, who Chicago police say hired two on-set extras to harass him with a noose, using racial and homophobic slurs in an attempt to raise his profile and bloat his paycheck.

Smollett’s case was shockingly dropped, angering much of the nation and prompting the appointment of a special prosecutor to examine the circumstances of that dismissal.

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Now another pseudo-celebrity is being accused of a similar offense, this time going so far as to trash his own small businesses in the name of notoriety.

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A former NFL player has been accused of trashing a restaurant and an ice cream shop he owned near Atlanta to make it look like a hate crime.

Gwinett County police say they found the n-word, “monkey,” “MAGA” and swastikas scrawled on the walls and booths of the two businesses, Create & Bake Pizza and Coughman’s Creamery in Lawrenceville.

Edawn Coughman, 31, of Buford, was arrested Thursday on charges of false reporting a burglary, insurance fraud and concealing a license plate before being bonded out of jail, police said.

Coughman was caught after his not-so-complex plan went awry.

Police said in a news release that an officer responded Wednesday night to a 911 call reporting a man damaging the restaurant and the ice cream shop and getting away in a truck without a license plate. The restaurant’s rear door showed signs of a break-in.

When officers pulled over the truck they found Coughman behind the wheel and learned he was the owner of the damaged businesses, according to the news release. In the truck were several TVs that appeared to have been ripped from a wall.

Coughman claimed that, after noticing the damage, he called his insurance company but made no call to 911 – further damaging the integrity of his story.

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