Freakishly talented Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. imploded again Monday night with another taunting penalty that killed a drive. It was just one installment in his constant back and forth jawing battle with Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes clearly frustrated Beckham who finished with a career low 23 yards.
Beckham’s antics are becoming better known throughout the league. It all started when he tangled with then Panthers corner back Josh Norman last year. Beckham was flagged for three unnecessary roughness penalties and once for offensive pass interference. Even though Norman was just as guilty as Beckham in inducing the fist fight pictured below, only Beckham was suspended for a game. It should be noted that Beckham’s Giants faced Norman’s Redskins in Week 3 without drama.
That would serve as a wake up call for most players. However, Monday night proves that OBJ still has some maturing to do. In fact, since he entered the league in 2014, over half of the penalties called on OBJ have been dead ball fouls (delay of game, taunting, unnecessary roughness, unsportsmanlike conduct, etc.). Executing plays well in the NFL is hard enough. Thus, anything that happens in a dead ball situation to negate a good play really hurts and can drive a coach insane. Even teammates are tiring of Beckham’s stupid infractions. Quarterback Eli Manning was quoted as saying that his favorite receiver needs to “be a professional” Beckham is simply too good for the Giants to cut ties with him. That means someone in the organization has to reel him in. He does not strike me as a complete jerk, but rather just an emotional player. So, I believe it is possible to reel him in. However, the Giants had better be real careful when doing it.
As I have watched the media blister OBJ all week, something hit me. Almost every single receiver with a Hall of Fame level of talent in the last 20 or so years has had some very childish and stupid moments. Chad Johnson changed his name and politicked his way out of Cincinnati, Terrell Owens did sit-ups in his driveway and once uttered the phrase “I love me some me”, and Keyshawn Johnson wrote a book called “Give Me the Damn Ball.” Guys like Randy Moss and Steve Smith also fit this bill. Of course, there are exceptions like Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison, but they are just that, exceptions. The so-called “diva” mentality is far more common amongst great wide receivers in the modern NFL. Though Beckham’s career is still quite young, I would lump him in the “diva” group. Also, he absolutely has Hall of Fame level talent. Check out the video below from the NFL’s YouTube channel to remind yourself how good he is.
I would speculate that receivers like Beckham’s predecessors were the way they were because they believed that they were the best and that getting them the ball was their team’s best chance to win. I believe Beckham is the same way and all his antics and the antics of those before him stem from immense self-belief and the frustration. There is nothing wrong with either of those things. Like most fans, I am not big on the childishness, but I feel I understand where it comes from. So, the Giants need to find a way to polish OBJ, but they cannot lose what makes him tick in the process.
“From Our House to Yours”