Of all the baffling things Odell Beckham Jr. said after his latest nationally televised tantrum, his denial that anyone can get into that bleached-blonde head of his might’ve been the most confusing.
“Nobody on another team bothers, upsets me,” theNew York Giants’ superstar receiver told reporters with a straight face Monday night, still toweling off from a shower he could’ve used when Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes got him hot in the second quarter of the Giants’ 24-10 loss.
“It’s all within us. I only get upset with us, my team, myself. It has nothing to do with anybody else, period. There’s no ‘getting in your head’ or any of that other stuff. That’s all talk to create distraction, which doesn’t really work.”
If that’s the truth, then Beckham might just be hopelessly out of control, rather than a young, incredibly talented player who’s still learning to control his emotions, as Giants coach Ben McAdoo publicly pleaded for him to do in the aftermath of last week’s failed assault on a kicking net.
“I’m not the one who puts a camera in my face,” Beckham said. “I don’t think many teammates knew about what happened last week, and then it all gets blown up. We live in an era of social media, so it is what it is.
“When you’re at the top of your game, they’re going to try to knock you off, and that’s just the case.”
Here’s the thing: everyone knows how to knock off Beckham now, or try anyway, even if they can’t hold him to a career-low 23 yards on three catches as the Vikings’ stellar defense did Monday, with Rhodes in his shadow most of the night and plenty of safety help close by.
Rhodes started yapping midway through the second quarter when the two tangled on a run play and didn’t back off as Beckham unraveled — bumping Rhodes after a sideline shove, getting called for taunting, making contact with an official as he complained, then taking another shot at Rhodes at the end of the next play, leaving coaches and teammates trying to calm him down.“I just have to understand if I sneeze the wrong way, it’ll be a flag, it’ll be a fine,” Beckham said. “If I tie my shoe the wrong way, it might be a fine or a flag.”
No, if you punch people in Buffalo, and use your helmet like a chin-seeking missile against Carolina, and blindside somebody in New Orleans, then coming after somebody in Minnesota — even if you’re just trying to protect yourself in “a man’s sport”, as Beckham says — is a lot more likely to be a flag, and a fine, and maybe more soon.
Perhaps Beckham would’ve had a better idea of how to beat this Vikings defense if he’d played against them last December, but he was suspended that game (a loss that knocked the Giants out of the NFC East race) for what he did against Josh Norman and the Panthers. And still, Beckham took one more shot at Rhodes on Monday after a taunting call put him one strike from ejection.