OPINION: It’s the ODB Kid!


Dante Centofanti

Dante Centofanti

Pete Rozelle was the master with his charm and organization of football and helped create this little thing called the Super Bowl.

Deion Sanders electrified viewers with his attitude about getting paid as he high-stepped through the TV screen. All the way to modern day players like a man from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, named Odell Cornelious Beckham Jr.

Nov. 23, 2014, was a date I will never forget as an NFL consumer.

During that Sunday Night Football game, when the New York Giants played the Dallas Cowboys, I saw the greatest catch I’ve ever seen. Not only was this a masterful one-handed catch; this felt like I saw a biblical miracle happen in football.

Odell had a historic rookie year in 2014, becoming the first rookie receiver to have 75 receptions, 1,100 yards, and 10 touchdowns. On that night, he became a superstar and the NFL’s newest and brightest salesman, and someone I would be very intrigued with for the next three years.

Odell is great for the league. His style is that of Joe Namath, his charisma is that of Randy Moss, and he is a cultural icon in the New York sports scene with the likes of Mickey Mantle and Patrick Ewing.

But like every star wide receiver in the new millennium, Odell has the enormous reputation of being a walking PR nightmare. During this past offseason, he was seen in an Instagram video smoking a blunt while an Instagram model next to him appeared to be cutting up cocaine.

This took place in an offseason where Big Blue owner and CEO John Mara had a decision to make, with Odell’s contract about to expire. Despite the debacle, the Giants decided just before Week 1 to make him the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL; five years and $95 million, $65 million of that guaranteed.

To quote rapper YG, “Big Bank Take Little Bank.”

So far this season, Odell has been subpar, but it hasn’t been his fault. He’s simply not being at the forefront of this offense like he should be, and he alluded to as much in an interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson and the great, fellow 504 icon, Lil Wayne. “I haven’t been in the place where I feel like I can really go out and do what I’m capable of doing,” he said. “I don’t get 20 targets like other receivers.”

When Anderson asked in the interview whether Odell had an issue with Manning, he answered in a way that was extremely detrimental: He talked about how he sees other top receivers in the league get the ball as they should, and he wants to start doing that again.

There are things that athletes should not say publicly. Yes, it’s good for us in sports journalism because we will have big news to give the public, but I’m someone who supports the athlete over anything because, without the athlete, I and many others would have a different major or be unemployed.

Right now, unlike every other situation, I am not feeling Odell Beckham Jr. He’s leaving the field early, acting like Nelson Muntz with Sterling Shepard as Bart Simpson on the sideline, and calling out his team and coaching staff publicly.

He has this attitude of, I’m getting paid regardless, so I’ll do what I want, and it doesn’t take an NFL player to figure out that your co workers might get sick of you because of that.

But if you don’t try to be a leader when you’re being paid a leader’s salary, your time in the Meadowlands is going to run out. And you’re going to be more like a salesman in “Glengarry Glen Ross” than a salesman always closing great offense for the NFL.

Dante Centofanti is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].