In the last two weeks, Odell Beckham Jr. has been under a lot of criticism, even from my fellow writers. People are saying he hurts his team, he can’t handle pressure and he can’t control himself especially down the stretch. For all of those criticizing OBJ and and the way he’s been playing, I’ve got one thing to say to you; you’re wrong.
One of the biggest reasons people are attacking the Giants star is for his immaturity, which is understandable at times but people are also looking at Beckham Jr. like he’s a seasoned veteran who has gone through all the struggles this league has to offer. Critics seem to forget that he is still only 23 years old and is playing his third year in the NFL. Does that excuse all of his actions, no, but it does shed some light on them.
Throughout his young NFL career Beckham has had little to no adversity up until very recently and he seems to be struggling with how he handles it. He has been arguably the NFL’s biggest star since his catch monday night two years ago against the Dallas Cowboys but when he faced off against the Carolina Panthers last year everything changed. Norman and OBJ played the dirtiest and most physical game between a receiver and corner in a long time. A late head hunting play by Beckham Jr. made him public enemy number 1 for a lot of people and many more lost respect for the young star. Since the moment Beckham Jr. has been a very different player than we all fell in love with.
Beckham Jr. has been quoted many times saying that he is an emotional player and because of that sometimes he does lose control on the field, and some people look at that and just say he’s a baby or a punk, but they couldn’t be more wrong. When Beckham Jr. first arrived in the NFL one of the things that made him so popular was his celebrations and dances that were non stop throughout play time.
Even back then Beckham was an extremely emotional player but the emotion he was feeling was excitement and joy. That’s why he was so fun to watch and why he had such explosive games where he looked like he was playing on the field by himself. Unfortunately those emotions are no longer there for him and yesterday he even came out and said that he’s no longer having fun playing. For a player to experience that at such a young age can have a major effect on how they carry themselves. The bright eyed rookie that loved every second of the season is gone and he’s been replaced by a star receiver with an image issue that gets attacked by the media and corners every where he turns.
Every corner he matches up against goes in with the same game plan; hit him as much as possible clean or dirty and wait for him to start making mistakes. It’s getting to the point where his matchups are no longer football games but instead fist fights. I’m not going to say Beckham Jr. is innocent, because he isn’t. He’s started fights and he’s had dirty plays but now every corner that plays against him utilizes late hits, hits out of bounds, and rough pass interference to take him out of his zone.
The people that call him dirty play just as dirty as him causing his fits of outrage now. He’s not protected on the field and he’s partially brought that on himself but the refs are not helping. Corners who match up against Beckham Jr. rarely get flagged since the refs are just waiting for the receiver to slip up and do something that worsens his image.
Odell Beckham Jr. has immense talent and no one denies that but people are no longer on his side. A player that gives it his all week in and week out has lost a large amount of his original fan base as well as respect from many of his peers. Refs no longer flag corners for close calls against him and corners play dirty against him so that he starts doing the same.
He can no longer suit up on Sundays and just play football. His sanctuary has been taken away from him and he’s struggling to deal with it but that’s no reason to attack him. He’s a young player still making adjustments to maximize his potential and help his team win and people are attacking him for it.
Yes, he’s had late hits and dirty plays and even cried during his latest matchup with Norman but some of the game’s greatest receivers have also had attitude issues early in their career (Randy Moss, TO, Chad Johnson). I honestly believe that a lot of his critics have no idea what he’s going through or how emotional you can get on game days especially when you do it for a living. People’s emotions get the better of them sometimes and that’s happened with Beckham Jr. recently but he has stilled performed at an elite level and without him the Giants would be far worse over the last two years. People need to back off and let him breathe.
Dez Bryant with a great Tweet about this topic: