Saturday, December 26, 2015

Beckham/Norman, With No Armchair Psychoanalysis

Here is what we know:

Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., after mixing it up with Panthers cornerback Josh Norman all day, took a running start at him and planted his helmet squarely on Norman's earhole.
This is not allowed.

The referees, who had allowed Beckham and Norman to be chippy with each other all game, did nothing.
Because they did nothing, they are now receiving a storm of criticism for "letting things get out of hand".
It is entirely likely that if they had done something, say, eject Beckham, Norman, or both, they would have received a storm of criticism for "taking the best players off the field" or "having the refs decide the outcome of the game."
Beckham was, rightfully, suspended for his actions.
After the fact, it was suggested that A)the Panthers had been swinging around a baseball bat in intimidating fashion on the field before the game and B)they had used homophobic slurs in Beckham's direction.
If the New York Football Giants were intimidated by someone swinging a baseball bat, it would be very surprising, seeing as they play football for a  living and get paid to deliver bone-crunching contact. Also, New Jersey. If there was only one baseball bat in that stadium, I'd be very surprised.
Thus far, there is no strong proof that Norman used homophobic slurs against Beckham before the game.
At this moment, no one south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge thinks that Norman made homophobic slurs against Beckham.
At this moment, no one in the greater New York area has any doubt that Norman said horrible things before the game.
It is highly likely that if the situations were reversed, each side would hold the opposite position, because, well football, and fans will often excuse any behavior by their favorite team's best players pretty much up to the moment they're caught on live camera beating someone senseless with a walleyed pike.
Former wide receiver Michael Irvin, who knew something about being a flamboyant wideout in his day, has reported that Beckham routinely gets hit with homophobic slurs before games. If so, the NFL should act on this toot sweet. 
Josh Norman appears to be something of a jerk. His ridiculous tiff with commentator Rodney Harrison over how Harrison had complimented him insufficiently demonstrated an aggressive insecurity. Taunting Beckham with words like "ballerina" post-game potentially lends credence to the accusations about what was said before the game, and certainly continues to make Norman look like unpleasant company. His preseason tiff with quarterback Cam Newton, his fine for two penalties during the Giants game, the fact that this was his fifth time being fined - one can see why Giants coach Tom Coughlin is at least vaguely credible when he says Beckham was provoked.
If the Panthers were not 14-0 and Cam Newton were not playing so insanely well that even the inveterate cranks can't find anything to pick on, this would have been buried long before now.
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