If there’s a poster child for the state of the New York Giants, it’s Eli Apple. The mercurial cornerback who was the 10th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft has been a disappointment on the field and made waves off it with his complaining and threats. You could point to Apple as the player who represents why Ben McAdoo is no longer head coach and why Jerry Reese is no longer GM. He’s failed to live up to his draft potential and butted heads so many times with coaches that people have lost count.
While the media and fans have railed on Apple all season long, few take the time to wonder what’s happening behind the scenes to cause someone to be like that. Dan Duggan of NJ.com recently spoke with Apple’s half-brother Dane to get a fuller picture of what’s happening and the article paints a picture of a family in strife and Eli at the center dealing with a lot of inner turmoil.
Eli’s mother Annie married Tim Apple in 2001 and Tim raised Annie’s three sons as well as a daughter they had together. Eli so appreciated his relationship with Tim that he changed his last name to Apple in his senior year of high school. He said at the time that “[Tim has] nurtured, provided, and protected our family. I am the man I am today because of his tireless love, and commitment to our family.”
However, according to brother Dane, that relationship has turned bitter recently. Whereas Tim would attend every game and act as Eli’s de facto manager, the two have cut off all communication and Eli “fired” him last June. It’s likely that it was tied to Annie and Tim’s divorce, which had been finalized in May of that year.
As for Annie, she’s earned a reputation as an outspoken and vocal supporter of her son, even penning a column on SI.com attacking Giants co-owner John Mara over his “insensitive, dismissive and callous” comments about Josh Brown regarding domestic abuse allegations. After the fallout from that, Annie isolated Eli from the family, according to Dane, and made the rift wider.
When Apple signed a four-year, $15.1 million contract, he set up a “family enrichment system” through Merrill Lynch that allotted $6,500 a month to his family. It was to be split among family members and used for things such as his grandparents’ mortgage and sister’s private school tuition. According to Dane, that system has since been scrapped and Eli’s mother is the only person who receives money from him.
“Just growing up, if you had told me things would end up this way, I wouldn’t believe you. ‘Eli will go all the way to the Giants and not be family-oriented?’ ” Blackson said incredulously. “He’s burning bridges left and right and he’s losing the people that really care about him and love him no matter what. I don’t know what him and Annie are up to. It’s crazy.”
Of course, all New York Giants players and NFL players have personal lives that they need to deal with and separate from what happens on the field. None of this excuses Apple’s behavior, like when he seemingly lacked effort against the 49ers, almost walked out of the team during the season, and even took to Twitter during a game. His actions resembled the tantrums of a child acting out for not getting what he wanted.
It seems as though you could hold a mirror up to how Eli Apple is handling his relationship with his family and how he’s handling his relationship with his team. Ultimately, no one knows what’s really happening except the people in the house and the people in the locker room. However, it’s hard to think he’ll be able to succeed in one without the support system he can create in the other. If Eli Apple wants to continue his professional career and continue making millions of dollars playing football, he clearly needs to get his house in order. Both of them.