In this politically correct world we live in, the excuse-making for New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. rages on instead of the kid learning a lesson.
By Robby Sabo
For those who remember Tom Coughlin from “back in the day,” this past Sunday had you realizing a few things.
First and foremost, you quickly realized this isn’t the same fiery general you used to watch roaming the Boston College sidelines who’d far too often get in the face of his players. Coughlin allowing Odell Beckham Jr. to go completely rogue during the New York Giants-Carolina Panthers game – which all but eliminated Big Blue from playoff contention – was a sight many thought they’d never see.
This was shocking, even with Coughlin literally coaching for his job at the ripe old age of 69. Even worse was the two-time Super Bowl winning coach never really getting on his star player after the game.
More shocking was the idea that nobody put a halt to the actions of the Giants young wide-out from LSU. Coughlin sure didn’t. Eli Manning, the man who says and does very little, didn’t. And as we now know – thanks to the one-game suspension handed down by the NFL – Terry McAulay and the officials didn’t.
Troy Aikman summed it up best during the broadcast when he proclaimed that Beckham Jr. wasn’t even running routes. At that point in time of the young man’s life, he made the moment about him, not the New York Football Giants.
This is something we’re starting to see more clearly now. More alarming, however, the Giants not putting an end to his antics have many feeling the circus has traded in their regular green color for blue.
Beckham Jr. no longer works for the Giants, the Giants work for Beckham Jr. This is the first alarming stage of an organization heading the wrong way: not holding your employees accountable for their actions.
When does Beckham make the “OBJ conversation” about the team rather than himself? Is it during the post-touchdown dancing celebrations like the one we witnessed on Sunday? It’s hard to argue it was team-oriented considering his Allen Iverson-like “step-over” on Josh Norman could’ve easily warranted a 15-yard flag, crippling the Giants chances in the final minutes of the game.
— NFL (@NFL) December 20, 2015
Why would he even consider putting his team in such danger of a 15-yard flag with this action? Does he not make that moment about him more than the team?
Is Beckham thinking about the team when he reveals his newest cleat design? Or when he’s putting together his newest “spectacular catch” Instagram video?
Granted this is a new era for which we live in, and social media drives the world, but just because Beckham Jr. says all the right things about “team first” in interviews doesn’t necessarily mean he’s doing the right things for his squad.
If the Giants, the media, and Giants supporters alike keep looking to make excuses for the kid, he will come away learning nothing. He’ll just be another sad example of a phenom talent born and raised in this social media era who never truly “figured it out.”
After a game in which nobody should even come close to justifying Beckham’s actions, some were actually throwing his antics into the pile of reasons the Giants actually made their furious 28-point comeback against the Panthers. How could this be the case when Carolina did everything in their power to hand that comeback on a silver platter to New York? A blocked punt, several unforced mistakes, and a critical hand-off fumble aided it.
Most importantly though, how could OBJ’s actions be justified when he should have been thrown out of the game on the spot, after his cheap shot of a helmet-to-helmet spear on Norman. In other words, those who claim the Giants got sparked from his antics believe they still would have made the comeback with Beckham watching from the locker room.
Instead of looking for reasons to justify his actions, the world should instead be hammering the point home that his actions were not OK.
And don’t be fooled by the physicality in this situation. This is football. This is the NFL. It’s a league where alpha-males battle once a week for the glory of money, fame and publicity. Individual battles and trash-talking is part of the game. To get after it and go hard after a guy is fine in everybody’s book.
But to do it in a manner that has everybody questioning your integrity is an entirely different story. OBJ did it on Sunday in a cheap-shot fashion. He tried to get a shot in at a player’s head when the man wasn’t looking.
This is so damn dirty. So disappointing from Odell. pic.twitter.com/wH1c5tfPYv
— Daniel (@benchwarmerdan) December 20, 2015
— NFL (@NFL) December 20, 2015
That’s not OK.
Earlier in the season we also saw Beckham punch Buffalo Bills’ safety Duke Williams in the facemask and then promptly run away immediately after. If you want to engage in a battle with somebody, you do so standing on your own two feet and not moving from your spot. You don’t do it in a way that will have your integrity be questioned time and again.
It’s very clear what happened. The Panthers strategically decided to get under the skin of Beckham Jr, and it worked flawlessly. But to actually believe this, in any way, justifies his OBJ’s actions would be absurdity of the highest degree.
Bullying tactics and pregame trash-talk is no excuse for allowing the opponent to make you come completely unhinged. If OBJ could allow one team to actually overtake his entire mind and body for a period of three hours, then who knows what he’s capable of. This is why some feel, while he’s more talented than anybody in the league at his position, he’ll never truly become the greatest until he learns a few things.
Earlier today a new video surfaced of an irate Beckham during pregame warm-ups. He looked to be shouting back in response to the opponent trying to get his attention:
What is a Panthers practice squad player doing going into the Giants team stretching area.. with a baseball bat? pic.twitter.com/4mIQ0jwYRg
— Giants Daily (@NYGDaily) December 22, 2015
Unsurprisingly this video came from a Giants supporter. Giants Daily, a Twitter account dedicated to the New York Giants, were the ones who posted the video. Yet again, it’s just another example of everybody who surrounds Beckham making excuses for Beckham.
It shouldn’t matter what the Panthers were doing during the pregame. You’re a professional and can decide to ignore the noise all together if you’re truly about the team first.
Until the Giants actually realize it doesn’t matter what’s going on around Beckham, only how Beckham is responding to the noise, the circus will truly remain on the blue side of town.
With Rex Ryan gone and Odell Beckham Jr. in town, the New York City football landscape has truly shifted.