Sorry. I am apologizing in advance because I don't want to go down the road of using this week's "Five things I think I think" post to talk exclusively about Odell Beckham Jr., but that's what I'm going to do. There is so much swirling around, so many ramifications, so much nonsense and so much to discuss that I feel like it has to be discussed. Again. So, here goes.
A word of warning: Keep it civil in the comments. The mods and I are spending way too much time deleting comments, issuing warnings and bannings. Follow the rules of the site. If you're too emotional to do that, don't comment.
I think Beckham deserved his suspension
No matter what the Carolina Panthers did to provoke him, Beckham clearly earned the one-game suspension he received from the league. Beckham was clearly agitated and distracted by Carolina's tactics throughout the game, but you simply can't make a 15-yard run, dive at someone's head and use your helmet as a weapon. There's no place in the NFL for that.
The way to respond to all of the juvenile nonsense from the Panthers is to let your talent do the talking. It was clear from the first time Beckham blew past Josh Norman that the league's supposed best cover corner had no chance one-on-one against Beckham. Make plays, win the football game. That's how you respond. Not by sinking to lawlessness and despicable cheap shots.
By the way, I think there is very little chance Beckham wins his appeal.
I think I still don't get Tom Coughlin's inaction
I completely understand Coughlin wanting to win the football game. That's what he gets paid to do. I completely understand that he may not have seen every move that happened during a game. There are 22 fast-moving players on the field, there is a lot happening on the sideline. I have coached basketball for 20 years and I know that as a coach you don't see everything that happens.
Coughlin has assistant coaches and spotters who can and should fill him in, so there's no reason he shouldn't have been aware of the number of penalties on Beckham. I don't understand not giving him a series on the sideline to cool off. I don't understand why Coughlin never addressed Beckham himself during the game.
Peter King of SI said he didn't recognize Coughlin on Sunday. Neither did I.
I think the officials handled this situation poorly
Umm, this is a no-brainer. Had they not waited until the second quarter to begin throwing penalty flags this might not have escalated. Whether Josh Norman body slammed Beckham or not, he did pick him up and drop him with an official standing there. As you have seen in multiple GIFs, Vines and videos there were several other scuffles that were basically ignored. Awful work by the officiating crew. Giants fans won't like this stance, but not ejecting Beckham for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Norman was also ridiculous.
I think the Panthers had a plan
I don't know if that plan included practice squad guys threatening Beckham with a baseball bat, hurling homophobic slurs at him and all of the other things that have been talked about. I do know it's pretty obvious Carolina knew they could get under Beckham's skin, they knew he would lose focus if they roughed him up. It worked.
Obviously, there should be a rule against bringing a baseball bat or any non-football equipment to the field. Someone should have been policing the field and not allowing Carolina players to cross toward the Giants' side of the field. There is no place for homophobic slurs on a football field -- or anywhere. Norman deserves a fine, and the Panther organization should be ashamed of its team's conduct.
Bottom line, though, was they wanted to distract Beckham from playing football. And they did for most of the game.
I think Beckham is at a crossroads
Up until now, the NFL has been Odell's World and we have just lived in it. All the great catches, the adulation, the attention for his har, his shoes, his pre-game routine. Beckham has been living the superstar life. Those who reach that mountain almost always have a fall from grace, and now Beckham has had his. The NFL sent Beckham the message that Coughlin wouldn't -- that talent and celebrity don't mean the rules do not apply to you. Question is, where does he go from here?
Beckham has been called "a complete clown." He is being compared to Jeremy Shockey. He is being ripped from every direction. Let's face, the media loves heroes. Sadly, many in the media also enjoy reveling in it when heroes fall.
Beckham has a choice now. He can become a caricature. He can become Terrell Owens, Dez Bryant or any player you can think of known as much for their foolish outbursts as they are for their incredible talent. Or, he can just play football and let his extraordinary talent speak for itself.
Beckham is obviously one of the most gifted players you will ever see. He has incredible passion for the game, and a desire to be among the best to ever play. He works at his craft, not taking his talent for granted. He has an infectious personality and his teammates will follow him if he chooses to lead.
I think Beckham has amazing talent. I hope that when everything is said and done that is what he is remembered for.