Tom Coughlin has been widely criticized for his mishandling of Odell Beckham Jr.’s outburst on Sunday and now the soon to be 70-year old coach is coming to the defense of his top playmaking receiver.
“The only thing I’ll say about the incident that occurred the other day in the game that everyone is preoccupied with right now is the fact that to depict this as Odell Beckham being wrong, and the only one wrong, is not right,” said Coughlin during a press conference with the media Wednesday. “It’s not fair, it’s not justice, it’s not the way it was. If you’re naïve enough to think that way, then you better do some soul-searching yourself.”
Coughlin elected to leave Beckham in the game despite being flagged for three unnecessary roughness penalties and an offensive pass interference foul. The second-year wide receiver delivered a viscous helmet-to-helmet hit from behind on cornerback Josh Norman.
With his temper flaring out of control, Beckham was seen along the sidelines revving up the crowd and engaging in heated verbal exchanges with members of the Panthers defense. With an opportunity to review the game film and let the dust settle, Coughlin concluded that Beckham’s antics were not unprovoked and the problems initiated when Carolina’s players brought a baseball bat on the field during warmups; reportedly waiving it in Beckham’s direction and making threats at him.
“Beckham certainly was wrong, and we said he was wrong from day one,” admitted Coughlin. “But there were factors involved, starting in pregame, which are well-documented, which indicate that there was an attempt to provoke him. He was provoked, he was out of control, he was wrong, there’s no doubt about it. You’d like that that didn’t happen. But the fact of the matter is, if you know that, the situation pregame with the baseball bat and if you know what occurred at the very beginning of the game, you can understand that there was two sides to this and not just one. And that’s the only thing I’ll say about that incident.”
Coughlin refused to further elaborate on the matter, but made a point of deflecting some blame from his superstar receiver and wanted to make the media stop vilifying Beckham.
The officiating crew had an opportunity to seize control of the game by ejecting both Norman and Beckham for their violent and dangerous physical exchanges, but failed to do so. Coughlin could have sat Beckham for a couple plays, a series or the remainder of the game and he didn’t.
The Beckham-Norman situation formed a perfect storm of events that has been a major talking point for fans and media across the country.
New York’s coach is understandably defending his top player, but Coughlin, Norman, the officials and Giants teammates all had their part in letting Beckham’s fiasco spiral out of control