Brad Wing, the Giants punter who found himself in the middle of a pregame confrontation between Odell Beckham Jr. and Panthers bat-wielding practice-squadder Marcus Ball on Sunday, recounted his version of the incident publicly for the first time on Wednesday. He said his teammate was “shaken up” by what he perceived as “a legitimate threat” and felt it contributed to his actions later in the game.
“Obviously during the game it wasn’t the first thought, but after the game, putting all the pieces together, I think it may have had an impact in the way Odell was acting,” Wing said. “At that point in time, I didn’t say the pregame was the reason this was going on. It was more after the fact where I thought that could have played a role.”
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Wing, who is shown in a social media video in the middle of the argument, said Ball walked into the middle of a team stretch and threatened to end Beckham’s career.
“He said he would be the reason Odell did not play today and other days,” Wing said.
Wing said Ball went straight to cornerback Josh Norman after the heated exchange.
As for the bat, Wing said: “He never swung it at Odell or anything like that. He had a baseball bat. We’re on the football field and he had a baseball bat . . . I have never seen before an opposing player coming over the other side of the 50. I think it was a legitimate threat. The guy was in an area he was not supposed to be.”
Ball spoke to reporters in the Panthers’ locker room later on Wednesday and was told of Wing’s claims.
“If I had a dollar for all the ex-girlfriends who said something about me, [made] allegations, you know what I’m saying?” he said.
The Panthers have largely dismissed any claims that they crossed a line by taunting or threatening Beckham. Coach Ron Rivera on Tuesday called it “spin control” and noted he had not heard any official remarks from the Giants in regard to the incident.
“They can try to spin it or twist and make it seem like we’re the bad guys here when it was clearly, who was the one that was acting out a little bit?” veteran Panthers safety Roman Harper told reporters on Wednesday.
That thinking likely led to Tom Coughlin’s fiery verbal defense of Beckham on Wednesday morning, noting that saying he was the only one in the wrong is “not right.”
“Beckham certainly was wrong and we said he was wrong from day one,” Coughlin said. “But there were factors involved starting in pregame which are well-documented, which indicate that there was an attempt to provoke him. He was provoked, he was out of control, he was wrong, there is no doubt about it. You’d like that that didn’t happen. But the fact of the matter is, the situation pregame with the baseball bat, and if you know what occurred at the very beginning of the game, you can understand that there were two sides to this and not just one.”
Wing said he did not hear Ball or any Panthers use homophobic slurs when addressing Beckham, which has been reported. But he said Beckham has told him it has happened before this season.
“I know that’s something he has had to deal with,” Wing said. “I haven’t been around or present while anyone has said that to him during a game or on game day. But I know that’s something he’s definitely had to deal with just by him communicating that to me.”