New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. told ESPN this afternoon that he's "not having fun anymore," amidst increased scrutiny of his on-field behavior and a decline in production.
In an interview with ESPN's Anita Marks, Beckham discussed his on-field behavior and the coverage of it, as well as his role on the 2-2 Giants.
"Football is my sanctuary," Beckham told Marks. "It's where I go to escape. It's where I'm most happy. I'm not having fun anymore."
Beckham has caught 22 passes for 303 yards in the Giants' first four games, but has yet to find the end zone after totaling 25 touchdowns in his first two seasons. He was held to a career-low three catches and 23 yards in last night's 24-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
"What I'm communicating, we're not doing," he said. "I'm not getting the opportunities to contribute, and that's frustrating to me.
More notably, Beckham received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first half when he took exception to a hit from the Vikings' Xavier Rhodes. Beckham felt Rhodes hit him late out of bounds, but the play was deemed legal and Beckham drew a penalty for his response.
Beckham also expressed frustration with the way the media has covered his feud with Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman, which famously began last season when Norman was a member of the Carolina Panthers.
Beckham cited last season's matchup with Norman in his interview with Marks, saying that it "tarnished" his image and blaming the media for continuing to focus on his on-field conduct. He also said that the intense coverage of his latest matchup with Norman and the Redskins was circulated on social media, causing other Giants players to see it and focus on their teammate's mental state.
Beckham may feel as if he's being targeted by official and opposing players, and he might be right. But the truth is, he largely has brought this on himself, and only he can change the narrative and perception surrounding him.
If the book around the NFL is that Odell Beckham Jr. can be neutralized simply by trash talk and physical play, well, you can bet that's all the third-year pro will encounter on the field. Similarly, if NFL officials believe Beckham is liable to retaliate against players he feels are going after him, you can also bet they will be quick to flag him for his actions.