Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Beckham Gets 1 Game Suspension, But Panthers "Bat-Gate" is developing

Odell Beckham Jr. got exactly what he deserved from the NFL, a one game suspension for his antics on Sunday afternoon that not only put himself at risk of injury, but put his opponents and teammates at risk as well.

However it is the developing story that came with news of Beckham's suspension regarding the Carolina Panthers and baseball bats that is raising a lot of eyebrows late Monday night.

First of all, Beckham had to be suspended. While he will appeal the suspension to the best of his ability, his behavior on Sunday against Carolina was beyond unprofessional. He pushed, punched, wrestled and taunted his opponents to the point it became a distraction to the team. What's more his antics were purely selfish. Instead of trying to be a professional and ignore any taunts that were coming his way from Josh Norman and company, he let it get the better of him, and instead put more energy into seeking vengeance than trying to help his team win.

No greater example of Beckham's belligerence than when he launched himself head first at Norman on a play that never involved Beckham. The hit launched more pushing and shoving as well as off-setting penalties on both Beckham and Norma, but the fact is Beckham did this without caring about his own safety and the safety of those who had nothing to do with this fight.

That is why he has to be suspended and fined every penny of the $52,000 that he will have to pay to the NFL.

What's most disturbing out of all of this is the allegations on the Panthers. Reports surfaced on Monday that practice squad player Marcus Ball came onto the MetLife Stadium field clutching a baseball bat in his hand and was "threatening" Beckham Jr. Ball was one of a handful of unnamed Panthers who were throwing verbal barbs and gay slurs at the wide receiver, which clearly got into his head. Furthermore, it was reported via Twitter by Giants Daily that Hall of Famer Deion Sanders got word from Beckham that Norman was bragging that they were going to "end (Beckham's) career."

Videos have surfaced showing Ball walking around the field during warm-ups with the bat in his hand. At one point he walks up to Beckham and the two exchange words before Beckham's Giant teammates break it up.

If these allegations are true, the NFL needs to do more than just fine Norman, there needs to be a concentrated effort to look into what the Panthers are doing during pregame warmups and suspensions need to be handed out. There is no reason why any team should be walking around the football field wielding baseball bats, even it if it is for some ridiculous motivational ploy.

The fact that Ron Rivera, who was a member of the one of the best and dirtiest teams of the 1980s in the Chicago Bears, has allowed this kind of temperament to preset in his locker room is another disgrace all to itself.

The NFL needs to suspend Norman, and fine the Panthers for this practice. They need to do it now. Why? What if the Panthers should advance to the Super Bowl in February and this tradition of wielding bats continues into the playoffs. The NFL will never hear the end of it, and it will be really ugly on media day a la deflategate.

 As for Beckham and the Giants they should be embarrassed. The fact that Beckham has the right to do whatever he feels like without any restraints is like playing with fire. From ridiculous christmas themed cleats (which are illegal) to becoming the poster boy for insane catches, and his obvious desire to flaunt his skills during pregame warm-ups, Beckham is a headache. Let us not forget this is the same guy who decided it was great idea to kick a football after he got upset against the Jets and cost his team 15 yards.

Tom Coughlin should have benched Beckham on Sunday to save not only the receiver, but save his team. Instead he let the free-for-all continue. The fact that a once hardcore disciplinarian can't get a hold of his star player speaks volumes that he should be fired at the end of this nightmare season.

Then there are the refs. Why didn't they eject Norman and Beckham? That is the biggest question out of this mess. The NFL has too many moments of epic fails by their referees this year, and this is the latest one. The job of the referee is to take control of the madness when it things get out of control. They let the lunatics run the asylum, and that is a total disgrace as well.

There are no saints in this fiasco. It's a travesty, another dark day in a long line of dark days for the NFL in 2015.

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