The receiver position is one of the most celebrated and scrutinized in the NFL. Receivers are often ladled as prima donnas and usually have the personality to go along with the claim. However, regardless of what their reputation carries over a talented receiver will be met with praise if he performs. These kinds of players are most alienated by media when their play dips and they lose their validation among their peers. Regardless of how they play, their actions will always be waiting in the forefront of people’s minds. This is a lesson that Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham has learned the hard way, and one some would argue the young pass catcher has still not entirely aware of.
Over his first three years in the NFL, Beckham has polarized fans and analysts with his explosive play and tendency to pull off the seemingly impossible. He is a generational talent that has set records in his short career, and only looks to improve as he ages. However if there’s one thing that he struggles with it’s the mental aspect of the game. Beckham has had a number of on field blow ups and it’s made him a target, sometimes justifiably as his actions have been questionable. These are 15 people who don’t like Odell Beckham.
15 Colin Cowherd
Here we have the first of a few sports personalities who has a lot to say about Odell Beckham. This past season, Beckham left himself open for criticism after several emotional outbursts and discrepancies in his usually stellar play was made public. Colin Cowherd certainly swooped in on the situation as many others did while it was happening. At one point last season, Beckham made headlines by saying that he “just wasn’t having fun anymore” with playing the game of football. Cowherd then made a point to address the statements on his talk radio show THE HERD. Cohered compared Beckham’s comments to something his ’10 year-old son” would say. He wasn’t the first media personality to take a shot at Beckham last season and he wouldn’t be the last.
14 Terry McAulay
If you listen to Beckham’s comments regarding refereeing in the NFL, you can single out an underlining theme. They don’t like him all too much. Now this is a common feeling for certain playmakers around the league, as they have big targets on their backs and sometimes feel as though they’re being treated unfairly because of it. But McAulay and Beckham have a history. McAulay was the head referee in two games in which some questionable calls were made. The first was the notorious bout with Josh Norman in 2015, which saw both players committing numerous personal fouls. The other was a game versus the Steelers this past season in which Beckham received some heat for calling out the refs on not calling plays they should have called. It seems that everywhere McAulay goes, Beckham’s in for a long day.
13 Scott Rabalais
Another media personality who has a problem with Beckham, this time it’s Scott Rabalais. Rabalais, a columnist for the advocate touched upon the recent drama surrounding Beckham last season. He’s not the only one who had harsh words for the Giants star. Much of the league was enamored with watching Beckham during the 2016 season. Not for a chance to see him show his athleticism or playmaking ability, but to catch the young receiver in what could be later referred to as another “meltdown.” Rabalais said that Beckham had “sprained some kind of mental giblet” and went on to question the receivers behaviour on the sidelines. The future looks bright for Beckham, but this is just another reminder of the scrutiny he will face for his explosive behaviour.
12 Roger Goodell
The NFL front office likes to make an example out of players whenever they feel like they’ve either crossed a line or deserve a severe reprimanding. Much talk has gone into how Commissioner Roger Goodell handles league matters in regards to player and team discipline. With many decisions coming under scrutiny, the Commissioner is handling business regardless of what outside parties have to say. Odell Beckham has recently been a lightning rod for league disciplinary actions. Beckham has been fined several times throughout his career, sometimes for on field altercations such as his bout with Josh Norman and other times for things as rudimentary as the color of his cleats. Beckham actually took to the situation with a bit of humor by sending the leaguer a $50,000 check citing the reason as being “whatever I’m gonna do today.”
11 Amani Toomer
Amani Toomer is one of the best receivers in Giants history. Toomer was a standout for the team throughout his 13 years there. He’s gained the respect of fans and analysts alike for his contributions to the game of football. So it generated a bit of buzz when Toomer called out Beckham back in October. Of course, this was in the midst of the whole drama that surrounded and lingered around Beckham for most of the 2016 season. Toomer’s message to the young receiver was clear; although he acknowledged his skill, Toomer claimed that Beckham was in need of a wakeup call saying “nobody cares about how you feel,” and to “just play your game. Tough words from a veteran to a young star.
10 Skip Bayless
Most football fans now who Skip Bayless is. Bayless is a man of many opinions and has the platform necessary to let those opinions be known – to everyone. Whether you’re a fan of what he has to say or not, you’ll most likely come across a Skip Bayless quote every now and then. So it’s unsurprising that when the Giants receivers were being chastised for taking a boat trip preceding their Wild Card game versus the Packers, Bayless got on the bandwagon. Saying; “I don’t care, it’s too short of a time frame for the diva receivers then to say ‘wait a second, we’re going to go straight from our game in Washington down to South Beach to party all night and into the daylight…’ It’s just a bad, bad look.”
9 Mike Francesa
Another sports personality vying for a word in the whole boat scandal this past January was ever present New York radio host Mike Francesa. As is expected, Francesa had a good deal to say about Beckham not only of his actions prior to the game against the Packers, but of his play during the game – which was admittedly subpar for a player of Beckham’s caliber. “He had more drops yesterday than you should have in a year. He had more drops yesterday than some great receivers I saw have in a lifetime,” he said citing Beckham’s inability to catch the ball in crucial moments – including a dropped touchdown early in the first quarter. So long as Beckham stays in New York, he can expect to hear more from Francesa.
8 Sergio Brown
Beckham plays with a lot of passion on the field. He’s vocal and flashy which doesn’t bode well for keeping a low profile – something Beckham rarely manages to do. So it’s only natural that certain players around the league would put a target on Beckham’s back. Football isn’t just a physical game. The mental aspect of it plays a large part in each play. Getting a guy like Beckham off his game mentally could greatly dictate what he does on the field. In a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sergio Brown did just that. The Jaguars made it a point to hit Beckham repeatedly in that game, especially Brown – who had no problems with taking on the smaller receiver with a barrage of often unnecessary physical hits.
7 Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis was a very vocal and influential player during his NFL career. The former Ravens star was one of the greatest defensive players of his generation and left a lasting mark on the game of football. As many other players do following retirement, Lewis became an analyst. He’s taken his abrasive voice to the television screen, and wasn’t coy with his feelings in regards to Beckham. Much like Toomer, Lewis acknowledged Beckham’s talent but said that his respect for the game was in question. Citing players in the social media age – including Beckham – as being all about “me,me,me”. Lewis is one of many analysts and a handful of retired players to comment on Beckham’s attitude and actions.
6 Antonio Cromartie
As an aging mid-tier player in the NFL, staying relevant can be tough, especially with the influx of talent coming into the league on a yearly basis. So while staying relevant on the field seems like a daunting task, some players take it upon themselves to stay relevant in the headlines. Antonio Cromartie has been on the downswing of an at best average career that saw his greatest success with the Jets, piggybacking off playing aside Darrelle Revis in a Rex Ryan defense. Cromartie – like countless others – criticized hoe Beckham handled himself on the field. He also referred to Beckham as a one year wonder. Beckham has had one of the most statistically impressive careers of any receiver in his first three seasons. Cromatrie meanwhile is a free agent and doesn’t look to be a starting calibre defensive back in the NFL.
5 Lena Dunham
In what is undoubtedly the most bizarre and utterly random entry on this list, we briefly examine that time Lena Dunham went after Odell Beckham after the receiver did absolutely nothing to her, which according to the Girls star was the problem. The event occurred at the Met Gala which Dunham and Beckham were both attending. Dunham made some entirely baseless claims about Beckham objectifying and marginalizing her due to his utter lack of interest in her whatsoever. Dunham’s arrogance and quickness to victimize herself is nothing new, but this time she was called out online. The social media storm was so poignant that Dunham apologized for her statements. But still, one has to wonder what compelled her to say those things in the first place.
4 DeAngelo Hall
Division rivalries can run pretty hot in the NFL. Things are said off the field and temperatures boil over on it. When certain players gain traction, you can bet a division rival will be fist in line to take them down. DeAngelo Hall has had a solid NFL career. Staring off with the Falcons, then moving to the Raiders and now the Redskins, Hall has made a name for himself in the league. One thing he’s not is soft-spoken. Before the start of the 2016 season, Hall went on record calling Beckham a “cheap shot artist”, citing the illegal hit of Josh Norman a year prior. Hall conveniently ignored his own new teammates’ numerous cheap hits in that game when making that comment but that’s to be expected.
3 Stephon Gilmore
Star receivers and defensive backs don’t get along too well. They’re natural enemies and that won’t change anytime soon. While his spats with other cornerbacks have been well documented, Odell Beckham’s tiff with Stephon Gilmore goes under the radar. The Giants played the Bills back in 2015, where Beckham and Gilmore got into it several times. The beef never got the same attention that the Norman incident did because it was relatively tame in comparison. But it still left a mark on the two involved. Gilmore and Beckham are both active on Instagram, which is where they took their battle after the game. Beckham was responding to Gilmore’s comments on him being a “cheap shot artist” and a “prima donna”. The two exchanged some heated words before deleting their posts.
2 Cortland Finnegan
Cortland Finnegan is known to be an instigator in the NFL. The undersized corner has always played with a chip on his shoulder. Though he’s not too popular with most fans, Finnegan doesn’t seem to care. Everyone remembers Finnegan’s fight Andre Johnson several years back, and mostly base what they think of him starting from there. But Finnegan doesn’t care, in fact he revels in the attention. Following the Josh Norman incident, Finnegan was as vocal as his teammate in regards to Beckham’s behavior during the game. People often overlook just how riled up the rest of the Panthers defense was after that game. When asked what had transpired with Beckham, Finnegan responded "Maybe it's in his blood. Maybe it's female-related."
1 Josh Norman
This is no doubt the most widely known of Beckham’s outspoken critics. Josh Norman exploded onto the scene in 2015. At the time, Norman was putting receivers onto an island. Beckham was expected to give Norman a run for his money, but the game shifted focus relatively on. The two went at it till the game ended. Norman initiated it with some cheap shots to which Beckham responded in full. Things didn’t get really bad until later in the game. With the Giants behind and tensions rising, Beckham torpedoed into Norman on a running play. Causing some to call for the receiver to be ejected. Norman was vocal about it later, and though the two have said that their feud is over, they now see each other twice a year – so expect it to linger on for the foreseeable future.