Odell Beckham, Jr. supposedly lost his cool last Sunday in part because the Panthers were taunting him with homophobic slurs. Based on what he told Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, Beckham should be used to it by now.
Irvin has spoken to Beckham multiple times since New York’s loss to the Panthers, and he says Beckham told him he has been dealing with homophobic slurs “every week.”
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“He deals with it a lot. For some reason, everybody goes after him with gay slurs,” Irvin told Gary Meyers of the New York Daily News. “He’s a different kind of dude. He has the hairdo out, he’s not the big muscular kind of dude. The ladies all love him. He’s a star. I wonder why people are going in that direction. It blows my mind. I told him he can’t let stuff that people say get to you.”
Irvin added that he has never seen the same level of “animosity” shown toward any other receiver in the NFL, but Beckham does call a lot of attention to himself. Some of the touchdown celebrations he busts out are blatantly designed to irritate the opposition.
“He was at midfield with that bat, like they were going to swing the bat on you,” Irvin said. “You can’t lose your cool. He was just telling me they did have the bat and they were pointing the bat at him and saying, ‘Oh yeah, we’re about to swing for it.’ ”
We still don’t know what Panthers players said to Beckham, but there is a video that shows practice-squad player Marcus Ball arguing with the 22-year-old while holding the bat. Only Beckham knows if he actually thought someone was going to hit him or if he was just overreacting to opponents trying to get in his head.
There’s no excusing all of the cheap shots (videos here) that Beckham threw, regardless of what happened before the game. And if players know that homophobic slurs or any other type of trash talk is going to rattle him that badly, Beckham can expect it to get even worse going forward.