The New York Giants started organized team activities this week in preparation for the 2017 NFL season. OTAs are not mandatory for all players to be at but players can be encouraged to attend these events. And when OTAs are occurring the people who are not attending are the ones who steal the headlines. The most high-profile absence from the Giants OTA’s was Odell Beckham Jr.
Since joining the Giants in 2014 OBJ has seen ups and down during his three years in the NFL. Highlights include spectacular catches that went viral on the internet and winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2014 and being a three-time Pro-Bowler. The (first) downside for Beckham Jr. occurred in week 15 against the Carolina Panthers in 2015 where Beckham Jr’s play was so controversial the NFL added rules when a player gets two personal fouls the offending player will be thrown out of the game. There has also been media scrutiny when Beckham Jr and other Giants’ wide-receivers took a trip to Miami the week before an NFL playoff game. While arguments can be made for admonishing OBJ’s behavior or justifying ignoring Beckham Jr’s behavior Beckham Jr needs to realize certain actions can and do help alleviate the media scrutiny.
First would be the truth and how Odell Beckham Jr is a superstar in the NFL who is able to get mainstream publicity. The positive in this situation is that OBJ would be able to obtain lucrative sponsorships for his play on the field and walk red carpets anywhere in the world. The negative is that any type of misstep that is made on or off the field will be magnified by the media. If OBJ drops a touchdown catch that play will be discussed at length and that one play would be examined and reexamined for weeks and even months to come. And while many professionals are only criticized when he or she does their job wrong OBJ will be criticized if he makes a mistake in his social life. Whoever OBJ is linked in a relationship with or where he goes on vacation can all be potential ammo to attack Beckham Jr.
The reason for the intense scrutiny is whether OBJ likes it or not OBJ is a role-model. Fans of all ages have a Giants jersey with the number 13 on the back with the name Beckham Jr. Since OBJ have people that idolize him for his unique skill set on the football field there is an expectation to carry that off the field too. This means at media outings, on talk shows, even driving down the street OBJ needs to be an upstanding citizen. While following all the rules and making curfew might make an individual’s life dull it will keep OBJ out of the headlines.
OBJ might not have asked for all this media attention he is receiving. However Beckham Jr is paid to score touchdowns and electrify the crowd but now OBJ needs to be a model citizen off the field as well. And if OBJ lives a dull boring life that could be a positive for Big Blue because OBJ’s teammates will not have to answer questions about OBJ’s social life and can focus on winning another Super Bowl title.