If I were any of the following people — John Mara, Steve Tisch, Jerry Reese, Ben McAdoo — there is only one question I would want to ask Odell Beckham Jr. And it’s about as simple a question as there is:
OK. Let’s expound: Why, when you’ve been champing at the bit to play; when you’ve volunteered for the many burdens troubling the Giants to be placed on your shoulders; when you make the kind of play Sunday afternoon that only one receiver on the planet — you — can make; when there’s so much in the moment to celebrate and the league has actually granted you more latitude than ever before to celebrate to your heart’s content …
Why would you pick … that?
Why would you choose to crawl on all fours, hike your leg and pretend to urinate in the end zone?
(And, speaking for myself for a paragraph if I may: Spare me the notion that this was in response to the president’s “SOB” comment. There wasn’t a hint of that during your postgame explanation Sunday. That was a life raft thrown to you by a sympathetic tweeter.)
Seriously: Is that really funny? Clever? Creative? Some fans insist it was, so I suppose there has to be some level of guttural appeal to it … although I tend to think Giants fans — like all fans — are willing to table things that might otherwise outrage them in the name of winning football games.
(Which is well within the fan’s Bill of Rights, by the way.)
But I keep going back to the same thing:
Really? A peeing dog is the best you could do?
I’m pretty sure all of that is roiling about the innards of Mara right now. I emailed him Tuesday morning to ask if he’d like to talk about Beckham’s latest antics, and unsurprisingly he wasn’t in the mood for such a chat, but he did reply with this:
“I do not want to get into a discussion about this, but I will say that I am very unhappy with Odell’s behavior on Sunday and we intend to deal with it internally.”
He should be unhappy about this, because it was Mara, at the start of training camp, who acknowledged that Beckham’s desire to be the best-paid player in the NFL was a fair goal given his talents, who assured his receiver and Giants fans everywhere he would get his as soon as the time was appropriate.
“He deserves to get paid,” Mara said in July. “We’re going to pay him. It’s just a question of when we enter into the contract.
“He’s somebody that we want here for a long time.”
What Beckham did Sunday shouldn’t change that — sorry, we stopped confusing playing fields for church tabernacles a long time ago; there was life for Randy Moss after The Moon, life for Terrell Owens after spiking the star.
It’s what Beckham said Sunday that should give Mara and Tisch pause, because it was unrepentant and it was defiant, and on a day when NFL players’ words and actions fell under more scrutiny than at any time in the league’s history, it was gallingly tone-deaf.
“When I get into the end zone, I’m going to do what I do to spark the team, and the consequences are going to be what they are,” Beckham said.
And that’s when it’s time for the bosses to act like bosses. Good for Mara for saying it will be addressed, even internally. It’s far more than we’ve heard from McAdoo, whose silence on this subject is one of a growing list of clues that he may be a little overmatched for this job, despite his early speed.
Nobody is asking Beckham to betray who he is. The NFL’s relaxed rules on excessive celebrating should, if anything, allow him to maximize the joy and energy he brings to the field. There’s an awful lot you can do after scoring a touchdown that won’t draw 15 yards and won’t make you look like the oddest kid in kindergarten, either.
This has to get resolved. The whole world saw in the fourth quarter Sunday how much different the Giants are with a functioning Beckham — even if he’s probably still only operating at 80 percent efficiency. But Beckham has to understand something as well: The rules — of both football and basic decorum — apply to him, too. At some point he’s going to have to understand that, or be made to understand that.
Sometime before Mara and Tisch finally have to decide upon that windfall.
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