When the Giants and/or those close to Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham circled the wagons pre-suspension, they came with claims both ridiculous (the phantom menace of a Panthers motivational bat) and sublime (insinuations of homophobic slurs).
But while bats aren’t something you see every day, Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin said the taunts are something Beckham has dealt with all year, from nearly every team.
Irvin told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News that he’s talked to Beckham three times this week, and the gay slurs are commonplace.
“He deals with it a lot. For some reason, everybody goes after him with gay slurs. He’s a different kind of dude,” Irvin said. “He has the hairdo out, he’s not the big muscular kind of dude. The ladies all love him. He’s a star. I wonder why people are going in that direction. It blows my mind. I told him he can’t let stuff that people say get to you.”
Of course, something did get to Beckham, who committed three personal fouls, should have been ejected, and was later suspended a week pending today’s appeal.
“I don’t think I’ve ever really seen the animosity towards a receiver ever in the league right now what’s going towards this young kid,” Irvin said. “He’s contrite about it. He can’t believe that it’s pretty one-sided. The attacks are pretty one-sided. He feels so bad this is happening. He also feels like he’s been targeted. I think a lot of players are so upset that he’s getting so much press, so much exposure, without winning.”
Whether Beckham’s contrite or not, he launched himself at Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, hitting him helmet-to-helmet in an act of anger and/or retaliation. That alone should have sent him packing.
And while we’re not naive enough to think the use of such base and ugly taunts is unusual among football players, Irvin’s saying it’s a weekly thing is more troubling than the presence of a bat which no thinking person would ever imagine being used.
With the league stressing rules in recent years to curb certain words among players in the name of respect, they need to make sure they’re policing all the offensive language if they’re going to pretend to be serious about it.