Odell Beckham Jr.‘s position on how fun football is changed so fast that you might as well call him Petey Jones. The New York Giants’ temperamental but talented wide receiver told Anita Marks of ESPN that he no longer finds the game enjoyable after the team fell to Minnesota, 24-10.
“Football is my sanctuary,” Beckham said. “It’s where I go to escape. It’s where I’m most happy. I’m not having fun anymore.”
These comments came shortly after Beckham was essential a non-factor on Monday Night Football. In what was, quite possibly, the worst game of his professional career, the two-time Pro Bowler caught three balls for 23 yards and no touchdowns. It was the second time in his NFL career that Beckham failed to catch more than three passes, and the 23 yards were the lowest that he’s had in a game since coming into the league out of LSU. He’s also failed to catch a touchdown this year, which is concerning even though teams are oftentimes doing everything they can to keep him from finding the end zone.
But even more troubling than his performance was that Beckham’s temper got the best of him and he received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for making contact with an official after a catch in the second quarter. It’s the latest example of the fact that you can provoke Beckham into losing his cool — we also saw this when Washington Redskins provoked him into throwing a tantrum on the sidelines.
After the game against the Vikings, Beckham essentially said that officials are out to get him, telling the New York Post “There’s no explanation, it’s just always my fault. That’s all I look at it as — that it’s just my fault. I just have to understand if I sneeze the wrong way, it’ll be a flag, it’ll be a fine. If I tie my shoe the wrong way, it might be a fine or a flag.’’
Playing with an edge is really good — it’s helped turn Beckham into one of the NFL’s best players regardless of position — but it seems like that edge has caused him to kind of resent football. This very well could be the kind of thing that is remedied if the Giants snap this mini losing streak they’re on (they’ve lost their last two games) or if Beckham catches a few touchdowns and has a big, drama-free game. However, if he doesn’t get his emotions in check, it could prevent one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL from having a big 2016.