I’m Done Defending Odell Beckham

The Giants were a losing team without their star wide receiver and they have been a losing team with him

Odell Beckham

Prior to the Giants’ crushing loss to the Panthers, I did the best thing I have done in a long time when it comes to the Giants: I gave up on Odell Beckham. After Beckham’s idiotic interview was released in which he questioned if he even likes being part of the organization that just made him the highest-paid receiver in the history of the league, I decided enough was enough. My decision to jump off the Beckham bandwagon couldn’t have come at a better time.

Beckham started the game against the Panthers with an unacceptable wide-open drop on fourth-and-3 to turn the ball over on downs. The Panthers possession as a result of his inexplicable drop ended with a punt, a punt in which Beckham was set to return. As the punt approached the ground, Beckham moved to his right to allow the punt to fall in, choosing to throw an unnecessary block instead. The ball hit his leg and rolled around near the Giants’ goal line, eventually getting jumped on in the end zone by the Panthers for a touchdown. In the span of two plays, Beckham had given the Panthers the ball near midfield and then he had given them a touchdown.

A couple Giants possessions later, Beckham threw a touchdown pass to Saquon Barkley on a trick play, and in the fourth quarter, Beckham would score his first touchdown of the season. He finished the game with eight catches for 131 yards, and there’s no doubt in my mind he thinks he did his job in the game. After having watched Beckham and his actions both on and off the field for the last four-plus years, there’s no way he realizes that he did as much harm as good, and really more harm than good in the game. The Beckham I have come to understand thinks his team let him down around him and not the other way around. It’s never his fault.

I have gone out of my way to defend Beckham being a Giant because of his on-field talent, and because when healthy, he’s the best wide receiver in the league. I have looked away when he has had his on-field meltdowns and sideline meltdowns and when he has done everything other than be a team player or a leader because of his talent. Talent is no longer enough for me to argue on his behalf.

There was this idea that Beckham would be different in 2018. He got to do whatever he wanted with Jerry Reese as general manager and with Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo as head coach, but for some reason, people thought he would change completely for David Gettleman and Pat Shurmur. Initially, Beckham did change, as he showed up to work in the summer and said all the right things. And then he changed back the minute he signed his name to a $95 million contract with $65 million guaranteed.

Shurmur became the first of the last three Giants head coaches to stand up to Beckham when he made him apologize for the interview and also fined him for it as well, but it apparently didn’t do any good as the same old Beckham was at MetLife Stadium for the Giants’ must-win game on Thursday night.

With two seconds left in the first half and the Giants trailing 24-6, Eli Manning and the offense took the field for the final play of an embarrassing half. Beckham didn’t take the field though. Instead, the $95 million wide receiver left the field and walked down the tunnel to the locker room.

Later in the game, after it became clear that the only bright spot in the game for the Giants was going to be Barkley, cameras found Beckham going wild on the sideline after a big Barkley play. This isn’t about to be Barkley’s team, at least not if Beckham has anything to say about it. So alone on the sideline, Beckham jumped up and down, yelling to no one and at no one in particular, just off in his own world acting crazy like he has done so many times before. Beckham hadn’t contributed much in the game before the outburst and didn’t end up contributing much in the game at all — six catches for 44 yards. Since his play wasn’t good enough to be a talking point for fans and viewers, he was going to make sure he drew attention to himself some other way.

The more the Giants lose, the more my dislike for Beckham grows and I think most Giants fans feel the same way. When you look at a team like the Eagles, they don’t have a Beckham. He has more talent than all of their wide receivers put together, and probably more than all of their offensive players put together. But the Eagles are a reminder that you don’t need a big-name wide receiver to win in this league. You need an offensive line and a pass rush, and when $95 million is tied up on a wide receiver, it’s hard to have either of those two things.

The Giants were coming off a losing season, in which they started  0-6, the year before Beckham arrived, and since he has arrived, they have had one winning season and played in one playoff game, in which his drops changed the game and ended the Giants’ season. The Giants were a losing team before Beckham and they have been one with him.

Beckham might be the best receiver in the league, but aside from a one-handed catch four years ago in Dallas and thousands of yards in losing seasons, he’s never done anything to earn the right to speak out against his quarterback, his teammates and the organization that made him the highest-paid player at his position. He’s never done anything to earn the right to act immaturely the way he has so many times. He’s never done anything as a Giant except come up small in every big moment. I’m over Odell Beckham.