Shaq Counterattack: Odell Beckham Jr.’s ‘Uncle’ Comes To His Defense
Hey, have you guys heard about the whole Odell Beckham Jr. thing? If not, you can watch his various dirty plays in GIF and Vine and video form here.
Otherwise, you are definitely aware that his multiple altercations with Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman have been the subject of intense scrutiny and disapproval from media and fans everywhere. Even New York homer Mike Francesa lost his whole, entire mind over it.
If this were any other player, like Ndamukong Suh for example, people would probably be a little less frantic about the whole situation. But because the behavior came from a young, friendly and previously reputable budding superstar, everyone has sort of been sent into a tailspin of incredulity; as if they are all personally offended that Beckham Jr. would do this to them.
That's why - in the interest of fairness - it was refreshing to hear Shaquille O'Neal defending the kid on The Rich Eisen Show on Tuesday, despite how painfully anemic his take may have been.
Eisen asked Shaq what he thought "went down with [Odell Beckham Jr.] this week?" The former NBA great, who has apparently known the New York Giants wide receiver since he was born, told Eisen that thinks Beckham Jr. was just trying to prove that he is not soft.
“I’ve known him all his life. He’s not a troubled kid," said O'Neal. "He’s not a troublemaker, but by any means, he’s not soft. I guess the guy got under his skin. There’s a lot of stuff we did not see like the spitting and the trash talking and the disrespecting. I’m a true believer that sometimes you have to touch people up to let them know that you’re not soft.
“The play was dangerous, him launching his helmet, but football is a dangerous, violent sport....It’s my understanding that some derogatory comments were made about his hair. Just a lot of disrespectful stuff — bats on the sideline, and people talking about people ending people’s career....Every now and then you have to touch people up in the nature of the game."
Eisen went on to ask Shaq about the generally understood rules for trash talking among athletes.
“The unwritten rule is mothers and children...You can’t talk about a person’s mother or their kids," Shaq said. "Anything else goes. Wife goes, girlfriend goes. What you did, how you playing, the money you make, you’re not as good as me, you’re a bum."
Now to be fair, Shaq admitted later in the interview and has admitted previously that he enjoyed players like Karl Malone who were revered shit-talkers. They were experts at it, and a guy with Shaquille O'Neal's disposition can definitely appreciate something like that.
He seems like the kind of person who isn't rattled by a lot. Or even aware of much. Or even fully conscious most of the time.
But the NBA is a completely different ballgame than the NFL...(pun fully intended.) First of all, there aren't many "soft" NFL players to begin with. The nature of football is such that you generally have to be pretty bad ass to make it all the way to playing professionally. Guys are going to talk and try to psyche you out, but the facts are the facts. Every NFL player is tough.
Still, let's say OBJ was trying to prove that he's not soft and can't be pushed around or intimidated. He could've proven that with those first few scuffles. He could've proven it further by outplaying Norman and catching balls in his face all game. Any good wide receiver will tell you that the best revenge you can get on a trash talking defensive back is to have a great game while they're chasing your ass around the field.
Spearing a guy helmet-to-helmet while he was turned around and defenseless made Beckham Jr. more mentally and emotionally soft than anything else he could've done. It was the definition of unnecessary roughness and most definitely was not "in the nature of the game" as a Shaq put it.
I respect him for coming to the defense of someone he cares about, and we should expect nothing less. That's what friends and family do for each other. Unfortunately for Beckham Jr., his defense came up a lot short.
You can check out the whole interview in the video below.
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