Mike Francesa
Asbury Park Press

Few things get Mike Francesa as fired up as his old pal Odell Beckham Jr.

The WFAN legend took aim at the controversial former Giants wideout while answering listener emails on his BetRivers podcast. Beckham is back in the news after body camera footage of his November removal from an American Airlines flight was released.

The papal statement:

Listen, I’ve gone ‘round and ‘round with Beckham since the day he came to the Giants. … They (the Giants) got enamored with Beckham’s talent and let him run amok. People made excuses for Beckham for years. I got a lot of heat for how I acted about Beckham. I got heat from Beckham, I got heat from Beckham’s family, I got heat from the Giants, I got heat from everyone.

You know what? I have always said it. Part of being great is understanding that you have to make commitments and you have to be a player. Beckham is just a spoiled child. And it continues to show. I could not believe any team would have even thought — and how about him, forget the plane incident, which is bad enough, and it was disgraceful — but how about him going to teams and asking them to sign him, lay out money, and he would not work out for them?

I mean, when is enough enough with this guy? I give up. I wouldn’t go near the guy. You know what? You can win without him. The Giants are so much better off that they don’t have him. Thank the good lord they’re going into this playoff game without him. Because he would have disappointed. Because he’s a selfish kid that just hasn’t found his way. And people enabled him. Instead of somebody putting him on the right path at the right time, coming across the right coach or the right person to put him in the right place — and there are coaches who would have done it and would have salvaged that great career. Instead, that career will never be what it was supposed to be. It just never stops.

Am I surprised by what I saw? No. I was disgusted by it. But I was not surprised.

Francesa has been staunchly anti-Beckham for some time now, so his comments must be taken with that important context. But there is certainly some truth to what he says here. Beckham continues to find himself in these types of situations. And people continue to make excuses for him. We’re seeing it now.

The body camera footage does not show Beckham’s interactions (or lack thereof) with flight attendants until the plane returns to the terminal and police and medical services came aboard. But the available footage does include a lot.

There is nothing to suggest the flight crew was insincere in their concern for his well-being. And when Beckham was told he had to leave and he would force the entire flight to deplane off he did not get up, he refused to leave and was then belligerent to another passenger.

Beckham made a claim on Twitter about selective editing of the body cam footage, but the full version published to YouTube seems pretty comprehensive. And he has not explained what is omitted. Or accused the other passenger of anything untoward.

Yes, the cops and EMTs cleared Beckham to fly. But he did seem groggy when they first approached him. The decision clearly was with the airline. And it’s hard to believe    they would turn a plane around on the tarmac solely so a flight attendant could flex their muscles on a power trip. So, assuming they were truly concerned, they were likely always going to err on the side of caution. At that point, protocols were followed and the flight was deplaned because Beckham wouldn’t leave.

James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com


James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.