Odell Beckham Jr. did a little bit of explaining on Wednesday afternoon but expressed a desire to focus on the Bucs.
Exactly one year ago, few could possibly envision that New York City sports talk would center around President Donald Trump and Odell Beckham Jr. urinating in the end zone.
Well, here we are.
Beckham’s media appearance on Wednesday afternoon centered on his infamous celebration from Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia. After scoring the Giants’ first touchdown in what became a 27-24 loss to the Eagles, Beckham got on all fours and lifted his leg like a dog.
The display’s impact has lasted far beyond the final gun sounding at Lincoln Financial Field, as Giants owner John Mara stated yesterday that he was “very unhappy” about it. Beckham confirmed that he met with Mara but did not disclose details.
“Mr. Mara and I talked,” Beckham confirmed. “He and I had a discussion, a private discussion, in his office.”
Beckham would also not comment whether his display was influenced by the controversial comments President Trump made at a political rally on Friday night. On Sunday, Beckham stated “I’m a dog, so I acted like a dog” and later implied on Monday that his impression had to do with President Trump’s “son of a b****” comment made during his speech, referring to NFL athletes who kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem. Beckham’s tweet was a reply to CNN writer AJ Willingham, who made the comparison several hours after Sunday’s game.
If u seen that , I have to tip my hat to u for thinkin outside the box. #URRIGHTONPOINT impressed
— Odell Beckham Jr (@OBJ_3) September 25, 2017
“I’m really focused on Tampa,” he said. “We can just move to Tampa because that’s the only thing that’s important right now.”
The receiver — who has showcased numerous flash celebrations during his young NFL career — did express regret for the 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty his show drew. The penalty was assessed on the ensuing kickoff, though the Giants were able to somewhat negate its effects by recovering a fumble on Philadelphia’s next play from scrimmage.
“(My) only regret is causing us 15 yards, having to cover a long kickoff,” Beckham said. “Thankfully, we didn’t have any setback from there. (We) covered the kickoff well.”
The NFL announced earlier this year that, while they’re allowing players to be more expressive in their celebrations, lewd gestures are still outlawed. Beckham’s 15-yarder was the second such penalty the Giants incurred this season. In their week two showdown against the Detroit Lions, rookie tight end Evan Engram was called for grabbing his groin area while celebrating his first NFL touchdown.
“I don’t even know if (the officials) knew to call the flag or not because the look of confusion on their face was, ‘Do we throw the flag or not?’” Beckham recalled. “I don’t really know how it works, but I do know going forward I have a lot better celebrations.”
After scoring his second touchdown — one that tied the game — Beckham raised his fist, commonly used as a symbol of unity, defiance or resistance.
Asked if he felt he embarrassed the organization with his first celebration, Beckham replied, “More myself, I guess.”
Other Giants players were likewise interrogated about the incident. While they expressed disappointment over the penalty, they stood by their teammate and acknowledged that their 0-3 predicament is a team-wide problem, not because of one player.
“Every player in this room has contributed to our 0-3 start. So, we’ve all got to look ourselves in the mirror and just continue to get better. It starts with ourselves,” fellow receiver Brandon Marshall said on Tuesday. “Odell’s creative and now we know the rules. We know that it’s a flag and we’ll continue to be smart about our celebrations.”
“I don’t feel like it was that penalty that hurt the game,” defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul added, also on Tuesday. “You can’t put it on one guy because that is not what lost us the game. At the end of the day, that’s what he chose to do, but at the end of the day, that is not what lost us the game.”
In his post-practice podium session on Wednesday, head coach Ben McAdoo discussed the penalty epidemic that seems to have hit East Rutherford. The Giants were flagged 10 times for 137 yards on Sunday.
“Celebration penalties are things you can’t have,” McAdoo said. “It’s a poor reflection on me, on the program and on the organization. We have a plan for it. We’re going to handle it internally and we have a plan for it moving forward.”
Asked if he was convinced Beckham’s celebrations wouldn’t be a problem again, McAdoo replied, “That didn’t come out of my mouth.”
In the midst of the chaos, the Giants were indeed able to finally talk about Sunday’s showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX). Though the Tampa defense had a rough day last week, allowing Case Keenum to throw for 369 yards in a 34-17 loss to Minnesota, Beckham praised the unique challenges the unit has to offer.
“They have a good defense in my opinion,” Beckham said. “(Vernon) Hargreaves is a corner who I’ve been going against since college. Brent Grimes, I like. I think T.J. Ward just got over there and he’s a hellraiser in my opinion. I’ve been to the Pro Bowl with [Gerald] McCoy. I’ve watched him. I’ve watched his film. He’s trouble.”
Beckham jokingly stated he wouldn’t give credit to linebacker Kwon Alexander, with whom he played with at LSU.
At 1-1 after a humiliating loss and already falling behind the undefeated Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South, Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter acknowledged that both teams will bring with them a sense of desperation to Raymond James Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
“I’m a lot more worried about my team, about the Bucs team,” Koetter said in a Wednesday conference call. “We’re a team that also has high expectations and we’re sitting here at 1-1 and we got our butts kicked last week by Minnesota. So my apprehension is way more towards how our team is going to play. The Giants have whatever issues they have and we certainly have our own issues.”
In injury news, the Giants had a crowded “Did Not Participate” list, as Jonathan Casillas (ankle/wrist) and Orleans Darkwa (back) both worked on stationary bikes in the early portions of practice before heading indoors. JT Thomas (groin) likewise was indoors, as was Shane Vereen (calf). Bobby Hart (ankle) worked on the side after missing last week’s game. BJ Goodson (shin) returned to practice as a limited participant, while Janoris Jenkins (ankle) was full.