Largely lost in the antics of Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was the failure of his team to do anything about it. From teammates to coaches, no one was able to get Beckham under control — and no one was inclined to get him off the field.
With Beckham and quarterback Eli Manning far and away the best two players on the team, Manning was the only Giants player with the authority to grab Beckham by the facemask and get him to quit acting like a little kid throwing a protracted Christmas morning I-didn’t-get-what-I-wanted tantrum. But that’s not Manning’s way; rarely if ever does he employ the kind of vocal leadership that his brother, Peyton, has mastered over the years.
Coach Tom Coughlin didn’t do anything on Sunday, because Coughlin wanted to (perhaps, for his employment prospects, needed to) win. On Monday, Coughlin offered this seemingly stern statement about Beckham.
“I will not defend his actions yesterday because they were wrong and this franchise and organization does not tolerate that,” Coughlin said.
So how does the organization “not tolerate that”? By saying so, or by taking action? If/when it happens again, will the Giants once again say that the organization “does not tolerate that” — and then do nothing again?
While the NFL sent a powerful message to all players by suspending Beckham, the Giants could have sent a clear, unmistakable message to Beckham and the rest of the team by suspending Beckham on its own. Beckham would have been far less likely to push back against his team than against the league via an appeal, and the gesture would have been the best, and perhaps only, way to teach him that he can’t embarrass himself and the franchise by using the gridiron as cover for engaging in assault.
With Coughlin’s job potentially hinging on making it to the postseason, he surely had no inclination to take on the Vikings with an arm tied behind his back. Which means that the Giants will say all the right things — but they’ll ultimately do nothing, since it will be virtually impossible to do anything good the rest of the way without Beckham on the field for Sunday night’s game.
But the Giants still have a chance to make things right. Even if Beckham wins the appeal, the Giants can choose to make Beckham one of the seven players on the roster who won’t be playing in the game. That has a chance of happening only if Washington beats Philadelphia on Saturday night, ending New York’s playoff hopes.