Dec 20, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) runs for long gain after pass reception during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium. Carolina Panthers defeat the New York Giants 38-35. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
If fans turn on Beckham, then it is because fans get to do that. Beckham does not have to be a villain if he does not want to be. It depends on how he reacts to this punishment. Remember that Beckham was not an innocent either, having come to blows with the Buffalo Bulls prior to this.
Ask LeBron James about what signing a contract to win championships (which hurt no one) did to his hero status. James attempted to embrace the villain status briefly, but it wasn’t him so he just had to shrug off the hate. Eventually the fans came back to LeBron as time went on.
Yet there is some fear that Beckham might be ‘demonized.’ That was the subject of an article of Ian O’Connor of ESPN. O’Connor spent most of the article telling the audience how wonderful and hard-working Beckham was and the place where he came from. I wonder why O’Connor felt the need to write this piece at all.
If he was trying to reach fans whose only impression of Beckham was the spear move, then he most likely failed. Not everyone reads ESPN.com religiously. Panthers fans will believe Beckham is dirty and a punk until the end of his career. Giants fans will see him as a dog poked one too many times with a stick.
Those opinions exist for many players in the league, yet you won’t see O’Connor stand up for them. Oh, and ignore Adrian Peterson while you’re at it. If Peterson has been demonized, I must have missed it.
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These things are malleable too. If the Panthers acquired Beckham somehow in his prime, this incident would probably be immediately forgiven or ignored. Do Panthers fans remember Steve Smith’s fights with Ken Lucas or Anthony Bright?
The only one who can demonize Beckham is Beckham himself. No one has suggested that Beckham does not have the ability to work through this. He has to take his medicine for now. He should be lucky that he is a profession that is so forgiving to talent. Others may have lost their careers for doing far less.
So I have said my piece and counted to three.
Please, Santa, let us move on,