Odell Beckham Jr. Isn’t The Diva Wide Receiver He’s Portrayed To Be

Odell Beckham Jr. has a reputation — something the star wide receiver is very cognizant of.At Cleveland Browns minicamp earlier this month, Beckham addressed how he’s portrayed in the media and his frustration that every comment he makes — or sometimes doesn’t make — ends up in a headline.“I feel like I could sit in a corner in a room full of people and not try and bother anybody and it would be like, ‘You too good to be out here with the rest of us?” Beckham told reporters at minicamp. “It’s just a tough situation for me to be in. Anything that I say I know is going to take off. I’ve gotten used to it.”The latest set of comments from the Browns’ star to go viral came in what appeared to be a laid-back interview with Complex UK’s Jacob Davey.The interviewer asked Beckham his thoughts on everything from his interest in soccer, to why youth should get invested in playing football and his influences growing up.The Pro Bowl pass-catcher responded to each question thoughtfully and honestly.“Learning how to win, how to take losses and learning how to deal with adversity is important. It keeps kids active, it keeps them motivated,” Beckham said on why kids should start playing football. “It’s hard to grasp how much you really learn from it until you get playing, so it’s really important for them to get involved in a young age.”
GettyCleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham also talked about his childhood growing up in Baton Rouge — a topic that is rarely broached in interviews with OBJ.“Having a strong community is important,” Beckham said in the interview. “I grew up in the South, so everything is family oriented. My energy was always the same growing up, and my mentality from the South was just getting out of the mud. You always strive to make it out and to accomplish everything that you want to do.”But all that was just background noise. What has received the lion’s share of attention is Beckham’s critical comments about his old team, the New York Giants.“I just felt with the Giants I was just stuck at a place that wasn’t working for me anymore. I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to reach my full potential there; mentally, physically, spiritually, everything I felt capable of doing, I just couldn’t see it happening there,” Beckham said. “So I think allowing me to be in an environment where I can be myself and give it a different approach, I feel like my football will benefit. I’m just excited about being able to play football again and not have to deal with all the other stuff and politics that came with my previous role.”Sure, the comments deliver a bit of shade to the Giants. But is it not a fair and well-constructed criticism of Beckham’s time with the team he was traded away from?The Giants never won a playoff game with Beckham on the roster and finished with more than six wins just once. Last season, the team won just five games as Beckham dealt with a quadricep issue that kept him out the final four games of the season.The franchise has also showed undying loyalty to Eli Manning, who helped the Giants win two Super Bowls but has also not played at an elite level for quite some time. For a hyper-talented pass-catcher like Beckham, it’d make sense for him to feel like his growth was essentially stunted by an aging quarterback who refused to go downfield.
Former New York Giants teammates Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley.
Odell Beckham Jr. Can’t Escape His PastSome of the criticism Beckham receives is self-inflicted. He’s under the microscope because of his past, which has featured everything from fighting kicking nets to staging pre-playoff boat parties. Media members like Colin Cowherd will never let us forget those moments, no matter how many 1,000-yard season Beckham puts up.Most NFL fans around the league have latched on to these things and have decided not to give him a chance, simply tossing him in the pantheon of diva wide receivers. But if you actually listen when Beckham speaks — and not just the sound bites — it’s obvious there’s more to him than meets the eye — or headline.“I feel like I’m in a way different position than anybody else in the NFL. I feel like I deal with more. People bring up my past. I take more (but) I’ve never been in trouble. I’ve never been in cuffs. I’ve never really had a speeding ticket,” Beckham said. “I don’t think anybody really knows what it’s like to be me but me.”He’s right, but all Beckham can do now is put his head down and get to work. He acknowledged as much in the Complex interview that landed him in the back in the spotlight.“I’m trying to achieve growth. I want to release myself from my past and have a fresh start,” Beckham said. “I’ve been working extremely hard to get take my game to the next level. That’s exactly what I think I can do at the Browns.”READ NEXT: Presidential Candidate Lists Baker Mayfield as His HeroFollow the Heavy Cleveland Browns page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
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