Anyone who has ever run an organization of any size or stature knows things work best when one size fits all. No one individual is above the rules regardless of how valuable they are to the whole.
There are exceptions, however, and they’re made everyday. In the case of Odell Beckham, Jr. and the New York Giants they are both wrestling with where he stands in the eyes of the organiztion and just how much latitude the team is willing to afford him.
Beckham’s star has risen into the stratosphere, even after missing the majority of last season with an ankle injury. He has reached celebrity/paparazzi heights to where every move he makes is chronicled by one nosey website after another. It wouldn’t be so bad if he were trying to avoid the limelight. He’s clearly not, and after repeated mentions from the team to tone down his behavior, he’s continuing to make headlines.
His latest off-field adventures include a lawsuit involving his security team roughing up another party patron and a viral video in a Paris hotel room of Beckham with a model and and white substance on a mirror.
To be clear, Beckham has never been arrested or even been accused of breaking any laws. But that is not what is troubling the Giants. They fear he may be going down a path of no return. When a person reaches the level of stardom OBJ has reached, they often lose the control of their own destiny.
Giants owner John Mara has a dilemma on his hands. He does not want to blindly support Beckham and his antics, which have been piling up over the past few years. His effect on the team on the field is unmeasurable. He’s that good. But his behavior off the field is sending up flares and the team, which is faced with the decision to either sign him to a prohibitive, insanely expensive contract, or move in a different direction.
This past weekend, at the NFL meetings in Orlando, Mara seemed a bit more ornery that usual when talking about his team, which has fallen on some hard times of late.
“Well, first of all, I don’t know what was in that video exactly,” Mara said. “But I said before I’m tired of answering questions about Odell’s behavior and what the latest incident is and I think he knows what we expect of him and now it’s up to him.”
The Giants will pay Beckham $8.4 million in his fifth season with the team. He will be a free agent at the end of the season. Mara is being patient but his patience appears to be running out. The lawsuit and the video have him backpedaling on whether to lock himself into Beckham long term.
“I think that’s certainly something you have to take in consideration, yes,” Mara said. He was then asked if Beckham, because of his record-setting career thus far made him ‘untouchable’ in trade talks. That irked Mara apparently.
“I think when you’re 3-13, nobody’s untouchable,” he said. The showdown is on. On Monday morning, veteran NFL reporter Ian Rapoport tweeted that Beckham plans on holding out unless the Giants agree to sign him to that multi-year jackpot of a contract.
The Giants are in the midst of a rebuild, or at the least, a retooling. Beckham was shaping up as piece they were willing to build around but if he holds out and doesn’t change his behavior, he will force Mara’s hand. He could end up being traded.
It’s not the worst scenario for the Giants, who are under new management with a new GM in Dave Gettleman and a new head coach, Pat Shurmur. I’m sure they’d love to keep Beckham but his star is still shooting upward uncontrollably. They run the risk of creating a “52 and 1” situation in the locker room. Football is a team game and, like I said earlier, the rules are better when one size fits all.