Odell Beckham, Jr., the star wide receiver for the New York Giants, has been suspended for one game without pay from the NFL for his controversial actions yesterday during the Giants’ tough 38-35 loss to the Carolina Panthers. It was Beckham who repeatedly, physically targeted Panthers‘ cornerback Josh Norman during their Week 15 matchup, as the Giants attempted to mount a comeback against their heavily favored, then-14-0, opponent.
“At numerous times during yesterday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, [Odell Beckham, Jr.’s] actions placed a fellow player at unnecessary risk,” said NFL Vice President of Football Operations Merton Hanks of the second-year receiver’s play, which numerous members of the media have described as reckless. “[These actions] clearly did not represent the high standards of sportsmanship expected.”
During Beckham’s encounters with Norman, the Pro Bowler drew penalties for four of them, three of which labeled “personal fouls” for his over-aggressiveness. Beckham also, in a third-quarter collision, took what the NFL deemed to be a “blindside shot directly at Norman’s helmet,” and noted that Beckham was “fortunate” the officials did not eject him from the game altogether.
“The competitive nature of the game is one reason that people love to watch football. It’s great that the league is making the game safer and trying to protect players, but that doesn’t change the fact that these types of hits and fights will happen when alpha dogs are battling for a victory,” said former NFL runningback-turned-analyst Maurice Jones-Drew of Beckham drawing the one-game suspension. “It’s part of the game.”
Tensions between Beckham and Norman grew, however, before the game even had its first snap. According to NFL Media “insider” Ian Rapoport, Beckham had to be separated from Panthers‘ practice squad player Marcus Ball, who Rapoport noted was holding a black baseball bat as Panthers players tend to do during warmups. Beckham reportedly felt threatened after the bat was handed to Norman, the cornerback who was to cover him during the game.
Strong words from Falcons WR Roddy White on Panthers CB Josh Norman. pic.twitter.com/aqZNnJoj5x— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 21, 2015
In other words, as the Inquisitr and other media outlets have recently speculated, Norman and the Carolina Panthers may have gotten in the head of Beckham before he first stepped onto the field of play.
Meanwhile, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin made the following statement regarding the team’s need to have Beckham in the lineup for this critical game.
“There are qualities that Odell Beckham, this young man, brings to this football team. The likes of which I’ve never seen. He has great energy, great enthusiasm, he gives great effort He does it literally every day he walks out on the field. He is an emotional young man. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and I will not defend his actions yesterday because they were wrong. This particular franchise and organization does not tolerate that… But I will defend the young man and the quality of the person.”
Regardless of how the coach perceives Beckham’s character, however, the New York Giants have to find a way to win without their star player this week on the road. Otherwise, Beckham’s actions may have cost the team much more than a single game.
[Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images]