Partying on a boat in Florida just hours after his team closed out the regular season with a win at the Washington Redskins didn’t cause the New York Giants and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to lose in the Wild Card at the Green Bay Packers. But Sunday’s loss underscored that the Giants – and Beckham – just weren’t playoff ready.
And while flying down to Florida to party with teammates and pose shirtless on a boat is allowed on a player’s off day, it was an unnecessary distraction and another poor decision from Beckham.
No player is more important to the Giants offense than Beckham, a once-in-a-generation wide receiver capable of the sublime. On numerous occasions he’s been a gamebreaker this year.
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He’s also been an idiot as many times.
He’s been baited into breakdowns as well as temperamental fits at the beginning point of the season. His penalties for lack of self control hurt the team, his tantrums on the sideline a distraction. Then go partying just days before your first ever playoff game, the first time your team has made the playoffs in five seasons, and it is simply a bad look.
At some point Beckham needs to go from being a tremendous football player to becoming a mature man and athlete. The playoffs are a different environment all together but Beckham treated it like he is bigger than the moment, bigger than the team.
And most discouraging, he could have been a leader and stayed behind to get ready for the game, sending a message to his teammates about priorities. The Giants didn’t lose on Sunday because of this boat party, but they sure didn’t win because of it.
The Giants committed a first round pick to this talent and will likely give him a contract extension this offseason or the next that will make him one of the highest paid players in the league. But as talented as he is, he is also a detriment and a liability. Capable of the sensational, the jaw-dropping one moment.
Unable to be a leader the next.
Last week at Washington, Beckham did a good job of keeping his emotions in check, even when cornerback Josh Norman was trying to lure him into a fight. Beckham kept his cool and walked away.
Hours later rather than building off of that and prepping for his playoff debut, knowing that his team needs him, he’s instead partying with the rest of the wide receivers. They shoulder some responsibility for this as well but to whom much is given, much is expected. And Beckham perhaps needs to keep his shirt on and his feet at the team facility.
If Beckham, who had three drops in the loss at the Packers, wants to truly be something for this Giants franchise, he needs to understand the accountability necessary to be a true star. Perhaps that means not shacking up with rapper Drake during the offseason and instead get together with quarterback Eli Manning to run routes. Or not date a Kardashian and instead find the nearest Jugs Machine. Truthfully, the machine has a higher IQ.
If not, he might just be another talent ho falls short of the heights he could achieve, all because he wanted to chase the fleeting rather than work towards something lasting with this team.
Perhaps Sunday will be the ultimate learning tool for Beckham to take his career forward, to grow as a player and a man. If not, there will be more playoff games like Sunday.