Professional athletes are allowed to have lives and allowed to have fun. Odell Beckham Jr. and his teammates were allowed to party last Monday, because they had just concluded a successful regular season, they were off until Wednesday and they didn’t play again until Sunday.
All good, and I don’t think anyone with an IQ above freezing would disagree. A party on Monday doesn’t impact an athlete’s performance the following Sunday.
Got it. We all get it.
But by flying to Miami to party on a boat with celebrities in high-profile fashion, Beckham and fellow receivers Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz and Roger Lewis Jr. either failed to realize or refused to care that the New York and national media would turn said trip into a story.
That was stupid of them.
Is it a shame that said partying became a story? Absolutely. By all indications, the four receivers adhered to local, state and federal laws, and they all made it back to New York in one piece without missing work. And again, common sense says that even the worst hangover won’t linger six days.
But the unnecessary getaway had no upside, only potential downside. Did the inevitable resultant media shitstorm distract the Giants? Did it add pressure? We might never know, but it’s impossible to imagine that it did the team any good.
What we do know is that after having to field questions on the Miami trip, Beckham had — on paper — the worst game of his NFL career, and the teammates who joined him on that boat were just as bad in Green Bay.
You’re welcome to believe that’s an extremely inconvenient coincidence, and that a sensitive, emotional player who is prone to losing focus just happened to have his worst game with controversy — no matter how contrived — swirling.
It appears even Beckham’s quarterback is willing to concede otherwise.
“Maybe (he) put too much pressure on himself,” Eli Manning said Monday of Beckham’s poor performance.
But even if Beckham’s struggles weren’t the result of the pressure caused by the media frenzy that his boat party sparked, what about his teammates?
From the New York Daily News:
Manning then revealed that his Tuesday joke to try and relieve pressure from a tense situation over the Miami vacation was basically a form of crisis management.
“At the time you want to make a joke of it, don’t make it a distraction,” Manning said. “We’re about to go play a playoff game. You want everybody feeling good and feeling right, so. But (we) handled it the proper way to get the best out of our guys.”
Look, the media sometimes sucks. But most of us are at least aware that’s the case. This doesn’t become a story unless the press makes it into one, but Beckham, Shepard, Cruz and Lewis handed outlets a juicy tabloid distraction on a silver platter.
And for what? A party with Justin Bieber and Trey Songz on a Monday in Januuary? Days before the team’s first playoff game in half a decade? This whole ordeal was so avoidable.
The Giants could have avoided any potential added pressure, any crisis management and any distractions by partying instead at home and rescheduling their South Florida celebrity bash for, I dunno, literally any other time in the next 10 months.
By failing to realize and/or care that their frivolous vacation was ill-timed and would garner negative attention, Beckham and his peers dropped the ball. And by literally dropping the ball again on Sunday, they sealed their fate.