When Ezekiel Elliott jumped into an oversized Salvation Army kettle after scoring a touchdown on Sunday night, the NFL decided not to fine him, even though it was a clear violation of the rule against celebrating with a prop. The league figured Elliott deserved a break because he had drawn attention to a good cause.
Odell Beckham wants to know why he can’t get a deal like that.
Beckham said after the NFL declined to fine Elliott that he didn’t think he’d be given the same benefit of the doubt. And now Beckham is grousing that the NFL fined him for his own attempt to draw attention to a good cause on Sunday.
During the Giants’ game against the Lions, Beckham wore multicolored cleats in tribute to the late broadcaster Craig Sager, who was known for his multicolored suits and who died of cancer last week. Beckham plans to auction off the cleats, with the proceeds going to cancer charities.
Beckham revealed on Instagram that the NFL fined him $18,000 for those cleats.
The NFL has clear rules about the shoes players can wear during games, and Beckham clearly broke those rules. He can’t be surprised the NFL fined him.
But the NFL has clear rules about celebrations, too, and Elliott clearly broke those rules. The NFL cut Elliott some slack for his celebration, so why can’t they cut Beckham some slack for his shoes?
There’s a widespread perception around the NFL that discipline is inconsistent and arbitrary, and double standards abound. The NFL’s decision to fine Beckham for supporting a good cause, while not fining Elliott for supporting a good cause, will do nothing to change that perception.