The next time Odell Beckham Jr. gets into a shoving match with Josh Norman or another cornerback looking to get into his fragile head, perhaps his New York Giants teammates will skip helping him out. It is voluntary, after all.
Perhaps not shockingly, Beckham is reportedly missing offseason workouts with the Giants this week. Truthfully, it isn’t a big deal in and of itself. Players miss workouts, voluntary or involuntary, all the time. So it wouldn’t be headline-grabbing stuff unless of course, he hadn’t partied on a boat at an inopportune time last year.
In all likelihood, Beckham, like most other NFL players, has been consistently training during the offseason. Every offseason, Beckham has regularly provided glimpses via his social media platforms into his workout routines, signaling that the man keeps himself in football shape. He’ll be at minicamp and training camp on time and in shape, there’s no doubt about that.
But in light of last year’s escapade before the playoffs, this isn’t a good look. Especially when you’re running routes with Johnny Manziel of all things, which is exactly what happened Wednesday.
Hours after the Giants beat the Washington Redskins to close out the regular season, Beckham and several of his teammates flooded social media with photos showing them partying on Justin Bieber’s boat in Florida. It wouldn’t have been so terrible if he did it at the end of the season, but with a playoff game just days away, the timing couldn’t have been worse.
And the whole hanging out with Bieber thing is just weird. But that’s another hot take for another day.
His apparent cavalier attitude towards what would be his first postseason appearance was an unwelcome distraction. The Giants would see their year end that weekend in the wild card round and a week of scrutiny over the ill-timed Florida visit only continued to mount after their loss to the Green Bay Packers.
It became the lightning-rod topic, the reason why the Giants lost. Had he been focused on the playoffs, things could have been different.
Now he heads into his fourth year in the NFL dogged by the same disturbances and questions as the last two years. Beckham could have put this all to rest. Instead, he continues to open the Pandora’s box of distraction for himself and his teammates.
Had he shown up for offseason workouts, Beckham could have quieted the storm surrounding his commitment to the game of football. Instead, the talk this week is about him checking out of workouts and instead inking one of the largest sneaker endorsement deals in the history of sports.
Not a good look for a player who already battles the self-centered label.
Had he shown up to the voluntary workouts, Beckham could have quieted all the sound and fury around him. His commitment to the Giants franchise that pays his salary and to his teammates would not be under the microscope. He would have been seen as a leader and not an egomaniac who isn’t all-in with the Giants. Rather than be there when his team is attempting to build on their moderate success from last year, he instead is a no-show.
It sends the wrong message to the 52 other players on the Giants who will join him come Week 1. Beckham doesn’t want to be known for the meltdowns, for the temper tantrums, for the fists being thrown into locker room walls following playoff losses.
But the very teammates he’ll count on to have his back the next time Norman body slams him to the turf might just voluntarily turn away.