Football is a chippy game.
During every game, no matter what level, we see players get in scuffles. Players get pushed, shoved, stepped-on, and so on. It is a game for naturally aggressive competitors.
On Sunday New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. took things to the extreme. Things got ugly between Beckham and the Carolina Panthers defenders quickly, particularly with cornerback Josh Norman.
The fight between Beckham and Norman started right from the get-go. During a Giants drive in the first quarter, Norman threw Beckham Jr. to the ground, and then immediately after on a separate play Norman slammed into Beckham. Beckham retaliated, wrestling the Carolina defender to the ground. During this particular play, Beckham appeared to hit Norman’s facemask. No flags were thrown. Norman held Beckham Jr. without a catch in the first half.
The two would go at it again in the 2nd half. In the 3rd quarter, after Beckham caught a pass, he struck Norman on the left foot and was flagged for unnecessary roughness. Immediately following this play, the Giants ran the ball with Shane Vereen. At the end of the play, Beckham dove headfirst at Norman, hitting him helmet-to-helmet. Norman then ran at Beckham and kneed him in the helmet. Both players were flagged for unnecessary roughness. A video recapping everything is below.
Beckham Jr. finished the game with six receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. After the game, both players were interviewed about the incident. Odell Beckham Jr. elected to shy away from discussing Norman, repeatedly saying “It’s unfortunate to lose.”
Norman took a different stance on the issue when he was interviewed. Among Norman’s quotes are; “You see what kind of player he is,” “The only thing I [saw] was [Beckham] coming fifteen yards down the field and [he went] straight for my head, he was doing it the whole game,” and “It goes to show how [he] acts out … [if you do not] train the way you are supposed to train, it goes to show. I hope I pulled back a mask, I hope I pulled out the face of what this dude really is.”
On Monday, it was announced that Odell Beckham Jr. had been suspended one game for his actions in Sunday’s game.
It was also announced late on Monday that Beckham is going to appeal the suspension, and a decision on whether or not the Giants’ wide receiver can play Sunday or not will be made by Wednesday.
I think Beckham got what he deserved. Apparently this is not the first time that he has thrown punches at opposing players during a game. After the Giants week 4 victory over the Bills, Buffalo players complained about Beckham throwing punches during the game.
I think the punches should be enough to get a player suspended, but the helmet-to-helmet hit is the icing on the cake. Helmet-to-helmet hits are strictly banned from the NFL due to concussion concerns, and what Beckham did was completely out-of-line. Norman retaliating and kneeing Beckham in the head is just as bad. Hitting a player in the head intentionally is probably the worst thing you can do in an NFL game nowadays.
Even though I believe Odell Beckham Jr. deserved to be suspended, I do want to clarify that I do not believe Josh Norman is completely innocent either. Norman is a loudmouth and a trash-talker just like Odell Beckham Jr. I must say that I am surprised that Norman was not fined for his knee-to-helmet hit on Beckham. Here’s a video of Norman mic’d up against the Falcons in week 14 showcasing some of Norman’s finest trash-talking:
Reports also surfaced Monday evening that Beckham Jr. said he felt “threatened” in pregame warm-ups when a Panthers practice squad player was shown waving a baseball bat in his direction. The Panthers secondary has apparently been using baseball bats as a pump-up tool for the players to make “home run” plays. The fact that this is even allowed is ridiculous. Football players do not need to be carrying around baseball bats. It makes them look like thugs.
This whole situation is embarrassing for the NFL.
But hey, look on the bright side: If Odell Beckham Jr’s suspension carries through and he has to sit next week, maybe he can work on his dance moves after a disappointing attempt at mastering the Ray Lewis dance.