Odell Beckham Jr. has formally appealed his one-game suspension and will present his case to appeals officer James Thrash on Wednesday at an undisclosed location, Newsday confirmed.
ESPN first reported the news.
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Thrash’s decision on whether the Giants wide receiver will be allowed to play in Sunday’s game against the Vikings is expected to be made quickly, possibly prior to the end of the day on Wednesday.
NFL Vice President of Football Operations Merton Hanks suspended Beckham on Monday after finding that his “actions placed a fellow player at unnecessary risk ... and clearly did not represent the high standards of sportsmanship expected.”
Beckham was involved in a number of on-field altercations with Panthers cornerback Josh Norman in Sunday’s game, the most egregious of which was a helmet-to-helmet hit on the defender in which Beckham launched himself. Beckham was flagged for a personal foul but not ejected from the game.
Thrash, a former wide receiver who played in the NFL from 1997 to 2008, is one of two appeals officers — former linebacker Derrick Brooks is the other — who are jointly appointed and paid by the NFL and the NFLPA. Cases seeking appeal are randomly assigned to either of them. The officer’s decision is final and binding.
So what will Beckham’s defense be? The video of the game clearly shows all of the on-field actions for which he is charged, plus other incidents that occurred throughout the game. There is no denying what happened.
But he can explain why the situation rose to that level. He’ll likely point to the Panthers beginning the taunting and threats early on, producing the video that has been posted on social media showing a Panthers inactive player walk up to Beckham while he was stretching with his team pregame, holding a black baseball bat and yelling at him. The Panthers have denied such actions in spite of the video. In terms of an argument for Beckham, however, it may be difficult to connect that incident to his play in the third quarter roughly two hours later.
He could note that many of the flare-ups early in the game were not penalized, which led to them becoming more common and more aggressive.
“If flags aren’t called early and guys keep doing it, eventually it’s going to lead to something further and become an issue all game,” Eli Manning noted on Monday.
And after the flurry of personal fouls in the third quarter, the incidents did dissipate.
Beckham can argue that he has no history of helmet-to-helmet hits such as the one perpetrated on Sunday. The most recent suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit was a two-game ban of Washington safety Brandon Meriweather (later reduced to one game on appeal) for repeatedly making such hits on opponents.
Beckham does have a bit of a rap sheet regarding fines, including one earlier this season for slugging a Bills opponent. Last year he was fined $10,000 for kicking Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree, and then for taking off his helmet and throwing it while protesting a non-call against the Eagles.
It’s unclear whether Beckham will be present himself at the appeal. As long as the NFL’s decision is under appeal, he is permitted to participate in meetings and practices with the team. The Giants resume that schedule on Wednesday morning after having their off day on Tuesday.