Once again, Odell Beckham Jr.’s name is in the news for all the wrong reasons.
This time, it’s a video that went viral Friday night, a video that appeared to show the Giants’ star receiver lying in bed next to a woman. Beckham appeared to have a brown cigarette in his hand, a pepperoni pizza between them, and the woman appearing to hold a credit card near a plate with lines of a white substance on it.
The video lasts only a few seconds, but it has raised enough suspicions to attract the attention of the Giants and the NFL. Neither the team nor the league would comment further than acknowledging they are aware of it, but the mere hint of impropriety is almost certain to spark further examination.
Shortly after the video surfaced, Beckham tweeted, “Old news still makes a good story . . . I guess,” a suggestion this wasn’t a recent event, although he did not elaborate.
It’s too soon to know whether there will be any disciplinary action, but the fact that Beckham is embroiled in yet another controversy makes it that much more difficult for the Giants to justify rewarding him with a long-term contract.
The wide receiver market is actually setting up quite nicely to determine a potential value for Beckham, who likely won’t get the $20 million-a-year deal he’s seeking. But Antonio Brown of the Steelers and now Mike Evans of the Buccaneers have inked long-term extensions worth more than $17 million per season and that at least offers a framework for a potential Beckham extension and a hefty raise from his $8.5-million salary in 2018.
Yet how can the Giants entertain the notion of investing so much money for a new deal when Beckham continues to muddy the waters with questionable behavior, both on and off the field?
The list of incidents is as long as it is disturbing.
• He speared then-Panthers cornerback Josh Norman in a 2015 game that resulted in a one-game suspension — this a year after he kicked then-Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree (who signed with the Giants this past week) and was fined $10,000.
• In an early 2016 game against the Redskins, Beckham shoved a sideline kicking net so hard it caromed back and hit him in the face. A week later, he nearly got into a fight with Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
• After the Giants’ final regular-season game that year, Beckham took a trip to South Beach with a few teammates just days before the team’s first playoff game since 2011. A picture of Beckham and fellow receivers Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis offered terrible optics, given the timing of the upcoming game. Beckham performed poorly in a blowout loss to the Packers, and afterward smashed his hand through a wall outside the Giants’ locker room, prompting then-general manager Jerry Reese to say the next day that Beckham needed to “grow up.”
• In a Sept. 24, 2017, game at Philadelphia, Beckham celebrated a touchdown catch by pretending to urinate like a dog in the end zone, an incident that prompted team owner John Mara to excoriate Beckham in a private meeting a few days later.
Beckham wound up missing most of last season season with an ankle injury he initially suffered in a preseason game, and he’d been mostly quiet since.
But the emergence of the video puts him at the center of another controversy of his own making. Though it’s unclear when the video was made, Beckham’s behavior is back on the radar of Giants’ management. The fact that he’s now playing for a new coach, Pat Shurmur, and a new general manager, Dave Gettleman, further magnify those issues.
Beckham’s football talent speaks for itself, and there’s no question he is worth as much as any other receiver in the NFL.
But as long as the team is wary of his behavioral issues, the time is still not right for the Giants to show him the money.