By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The general manager of the New York Giants came down very hard on star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Monday, hours after their season came to a screeching halt at Lambeau Field.
Beckham, who invited headlines by flying to Miami after the team’s Week 17 win to partake in a party on a boat with Justin Bieber, did not play well at all. He dropped several passes, including what would have been an early touchdown, and he let his anger show after the game by reportedly punching a hole in a wall.
These actions, quite clearly, left his general manager in an upset state of mind.
“This is what I see – I see a guy who needs to think about some of the things that he does,” Reese told the media on Monday. “Everybody knows he’s a gifted player, but there are some things that he has done that he needs to look at himself in the mirror and be honest with himself about some of the things that he’s done. And I think he will do that. We will help him with that, but he has to help himself and we believe he’ll do that.
“He is a smart guy, but sometimes he don’t do smart things.”
Reese then said Beckham is immature.
“We all have had to grow up at different times in our lives, and I think it is time for him to do that,” Reese stated. “He has been here for three years now and is a little bit of a lightning rod because of what he does on the football field. But the things that he does off the football field, he’s got to be responsible for those things. And we’ll talk through it and I believe he is – again, I know he is a smart guy — and I believe he understands that he has a responsibility being one of the faces of this franchise, and I think he will accept that responsibility.”
And, if Beckham is indeed found to have punched that hole in the wall, then Reese is going to make Beckham answer for it.
“If it comes down to him being responsible, we will definitely, a thousand percent, hold him responsible for that,” Reese declared
So there you have it — harsh words from the boss, a 53-year-old man who demands accountability from his players.
But here’s the problem: The man refuses to abide by his own rules.
This is a man, mind you, who last year around this time was busy signing kicker Josh Brown to a two-year, $4 million contract extension. That was a deal signed after the Giants were made aware that Brown’s family had to be moved out of a hotel room by NFL security because a belligerent Brown was banging on the door and demanding to be let inside. The Giants knew this.
In fact, the Giants knew a lot about Josh Brown’s history of domestic violence. According to owner John Mara, Brown told the team that he abused his wife.
“Listen, he’s admitted to us that he’s abused his wife in the past,” Mara said in October. “I think what’s a little unclear is the extent of that.”
So, Mara, Reese, head coach Ben McAdoo, everybody in the Giants organization — they were all comfortable giving $4 million to a man who admitted to abusing his wife, all because … the extent of the abuse was not entirely clear.
Even putting aside the ethical issues at play, for Reese and Mara to work in such a fashion when the climate of domestic violence in the NFL is at an all-time fever pitch was a terrible way for them to run a business. Yet the did it anyway, and they hoped nobody would notice.
Unfortunately for them, people did, thanks to Ralph Vacchiano’s reports for SNY. And when people learned of the details, they had a number of very valid, very pointed questions for the men in charge.
And when it came time to answer those questions, Reese ran away as fast as he could.
Not only did Reese duck questions from the media; he actually instructed them that they were not allowed to hold him accountable for his actions.
After the third consecutive question about the team’s decision to sign a known spousal abuser, Reese said this:
“I’m not taking any questions in respect to Josh Brown, guys. Stop asking me. I’m not going to take any questions about that.”
Stop. Asking. Me.
That is the bold leadership of a man who’s demanding accountability and maturity from his star receiver.
The video is even more pathetic:
What a joke.
Instead of answering for his own immoral decisions as a leader of the organization, Reese completely sidestepped any and all questions. In doing so, he left the folks who are lower on the food chain to answer for his decisions. Giants players — players who can be and often are cut in a moment’s notice and sent to the unemployment line — faced throngs of reporters at their lockers, asking them how the team could support a person like Brown inside of their locker room.
The players — who again, are perpetually at risk of getting cut from the team — couldn’t say it, but the answer was simple: We’re too busy focusing on keeping our jobs to be able to worry about the kicker. You’ll have to ask the men in charge.
But of course, power structures being what they are, the men in charge left the burden on the players’ shoulders to answer questions they never should have faced in the first place.
While the antics of Beckham are obvious and clearly need to be addressed, it’s become clear throughout this season that his bosses are not adequately capable of helping him to mature out of some of his emotional behavior on and off the field. If Reese believes that Beckham is not holding himself properly accountable, then Reese ought to realize the terrible example that he’s set for everybody below him in the organization.