The Odell Beckham with a special guest appearance by Lil Wayne interview raised plenty of questions for what Beckham said. There also were questions about how it all came to be.
Per a league source, ESPN set up the interview directly with Beckham, without going through the Giants. The interview happened in New York City on Tuesday, Beckham’s day off.
The Giants became aware that the interview was happening on Monday. They had no involvement in it of any kind.
This sarcastic tweet from Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon regarding the interview seems to confirm that: “Wow, can’t wait!! Bet there’s some good stuff for the hot-take, cold-take world in there!!”
While it’s not uncommon for interviews on radio and TV shows to be arranged directly with players or their representatives (especially on player days off), setting up a major sit-down interview that will create headlines in a not-positive way directly with the player entails some degree of risk for an NFL broadcast partner. If the Giants become sufficiently unhappy with ESPN, the Giants may be less cooperative when it comes to interviews and access that entail team involvement, especially in connection with Monday Night Football. The Giants also could complain to the league, which could be a sensitive subject at a time when ESPN generally seems to be trying to collectively reinsert its nose into the anal cleft of 345 Park Avenue.
Regardless, while many of the Sunday Sit-Downs! take place with the team involved (and often with team P.R. present), this one happened either because the player reached out to do it or because the player was persuaded to do it. The question then becomes whether the message sent by Beckham was premeditated or simply the product of questioning that happened to hit topics that produced “honest answers” that were far too honest, far too candid, and far too potentially disruptive.