Tiki Barber hasn’t been shy about sharing his opinions regarding his former team, and on Friday he had some harsh criticism for its biggest star, calling Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. “a look-at-me player” who could be distancing himself from teammates.
Barber made the statements on his “Tiki and Tierney Show” on CBS Sports Radio during a discussion of wide receiver dramas in the NFC East, including Beckham’s sideline tantrum and Dez Bryant’s mishandling of his knee injury.
His most biting words, though, were for Beckham and those who surround him.
“If he’s balling, nobody cares,” Barber said. “But as soon as you start losing, as soon as you start drifting a little bit – and it feels like the Giants are vulnerable to a little bit of drift right now – they have to lock it in. Ben McAdoo and Mike Sullivan, the offensive coordinator, they got to lock him in. They can’t allow him to just get up and say ‘I’m going to be who I am. I’m going to do what I want to do.’ No, you’re part of a team, buddy.”
Earlier in the week, McAdoo said Beckham needed to become “less of a distraction” on the sideline. On Thursday McAdoo backtracked a bit.
“Just like everybody else in the locker room, we want to be our best when our best is needed and he’s been that for us,” McAdoo said. “It was no factor in the outcome of the game in any way shape or form. We’re moving on.”
Beckham, too, dismissed the issue, calling the outside chatter “he said, she said.”
“I’m in a great place right now mentally, physically and spiritually,” he said. “There’s not really much that bothers me at all, to be honest. I’m going to go out and play football the only way I know how to play. Try my best to be the best teammate that I possibly can be. At the end of the day you play for the guys who are wearing the jersey. They’re the ones that take the field for you. They’re the ones who you shed blood, sweat and tears with. I’m just going to go out and be who I am.”
Barber, though, thinks Beckham needs to reign it all in before he alienates himself from those very people.
“You’re a good player, you’re a great player,” the former Giants running back said on his radio show. “People love you because of who you are and how you behave and how you act and the touchdowns and the celebrations. But you’re part of a team. And if you don’t recognize that, then somewhere down the line, you will not be part of the team.”