The lasting impression made Sunday by troubled wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is the hole he made with his fist in a wall at Lambeau Field after the New York Giants were ousted from the wildcard round of the NFC playoffs.
Oh yeah, OBJ also butted heads with a door in the bowels of that hallowed stadium in Green Bay, giving new meaning to the term “headbanger.’’
His postgame actions are unfortunate.
Because the 24-year-old native of Baton Rouge, graduate of Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, product of LSU and 12th overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft is better than that childish temper tantrum.
His locker-room antics came in the wake of an abysmal performance in a 38-13 loss to the Packers, a game during which OBJ had two indisputable drops and failed to catch several other catchable passes that might have made a difference in the first half.
OBJ didn’t lose the game for the Giants, though his hands of stone on this day certainly didn’t help matters. But he most definitely played a starring role in the loss.
This is the latest of what has become a disturbing trend of boorish, diva-like behavior by OBJ (too many incidents to mention here), a gifted third-year pro who seems to willingly embrace the idea of being a role model for kids.
My advice to his fan base is to find a more suitable role model because OBJ isn’t ready to handle that huge responsibility, not at this stage of his life and NFL career, which are being played out in the media capital of the world. Oh, OBJ seems to love the notion of being a shining light in a sometimes dark world but I can’t imagine that he would want our impressionable youth acting as he does when things don’t go according to plan.
As life often does (see Sunday in Green Bay).
As OBJ continues to struggle with the hard times, I wonder what it might be like for him if he had not made that infamous one-handed catch on primetime TV against the Dallas Cowboys in November 2014, a play that suddenly launched his life and career into a different stratosphere.
Would OBJ be more comfortable in his skin today if he had dropped that pass from Giants quarterback and Newman alum Eli Manning? Might OBJ not be the Drama King that he is today?
Those who know OBJ best at Newman and LSU are quick to defend their friend and former teammate, saying this is not the Odell Beckham Jr. they once knew. They also are quick to remind OBJ that “he is not bigger than the game,’’ though sometimes he acts that way.
Giants general manager Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo have denounced OBJ’s actions and anger issues in Green Bay. If OBJ continues to draw attention to himself, wanted or unwanted, then he’s “got to back it up,’’ Manning cautioned afterward.
On Sunday, OBJ did not “back it up.’’
There is a silver lining to all of this: OBJ has an entire offseason to let his fist and head heal.
Brian Allee-Walsh is a long-time Saints reporter based in New Orleans. He can be reached at email@example.com.