Somewhere in the last six NFL seasons since he starred as an LSU wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. lost himself.
Whether it’s the enormous fame cultivated through his highlight reel catches on the field, his constant social media marketing or the pressure of living up to a self-created image, OBJ has convinced himself that he is bigger than any situation.
He believes rules don’t apply to him.
He thinks that his occasional acts of benevolence, such as supplying several high school football teams with new Nike shoes or giving his cleats to young fans as keepsakes exiting the field or buying Beats headphones for the entire 2019 LSU football team gives him a pass to act a fool.
Like in his 2019 season opener with the Cleveland Browns when played in a game wearing a $350,000 watch made by a Swedish watchmaker who happened to be a Beckham business partner. Wearing a watch in a game is an NFL rules safety violation.
“There’s always a method to the madness,” Beckham said why he ignored the rule.
If that’s Beckham’s credo, he might want to explain how he applied that Monday night in the aftermath of LSU’s 42-25 CFP national championship game victory over Clemson in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
That’s when OBJ turned into an ATM on the field in the postgame celebration. A cell phone video shows an ecstatic Beckham peeling off crispy real money and stuffing it with gusto into the hands of LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson and defensive back Jontre Kirklin.
It was acting so stunningly defiant that LSU officials at first thought it had to be fake money. They simply couldn’t believe Beckham could be so ignorant of NCAA rules prohibiting players being paid.
But once Tigers’ quarterback Joe Burrow said on a national radio show that Beckham was handing out cash to players including Burrow, athletic department officials went into red alert full damage mode.
LSU immediately contacted the NCAA and SEC about the blatant rules violation, which again stirred the point of view that players should be allowed to take the money just like head coaches such as LSU’s Ed Orgeron banked $1.8 million in postseason bonuses.
But Beckham’s level of stupidity didn’t stop there.
New Orleans police obtained an arrest warrant accusing Beckham of simple battery after he was seen on video slapping a Mercedes-Benz Superdome male policeman on his rear end in the LSU locker room.
LSU players were smoking victory cigars in a building with a no-smoking policy. The 48-year-old Dome cop, instead of using a smidgen of common sense and realizing victory cigars are standard parts of most NFL, NBA and major college national championship celebrations, told players in a loud, stern tone they were subject to arrest.
Which is when Beckham did what guys do in locker rooms when they are emotional. They give each other a healthy “c’mon!” whack on the butt.
Acceptable most of the time in a locker room. But certainly not at that moment.
The cop said in his statement to police that he almost arrested Beckham on the spot but decided against it “due to the jovial atmosphere of the locker room.”
Finally, another policeman approached and told the players they could keep smoking, including Burrow who puffed on his all the way to the interview room.
And then there’s Beckham also seen on video screaming “Y’all did this” to the LSU team while Orgeron is giving his heartfelt postgame speech to wrap up the Tigers’ 15-0 season.
So in retrospect, have all these Beckham postgame shenanigans been overblown?
Yes and no.
Yes, because LSU’s quick cooperation with the NCAA and SEC in the matter should help the school avoid some, if any, sanctions.
The simple arrest charge may go away if Beckham is sincere with a public apology.
And while he’s at it, he needs to do the same for Orgeron.
That’s the “no” part of this.
On the greatest night in the lives of Orgeron and all those players, Beckham’s uncontrollable desire to be the life of the party cast a bad public light on the entire LSU football program.
Because he has had a track record of becoming a bigger and bigger diva each passing year of his pro career, Beckham is getting mostly roasted by an LSU fan base that once he had his back.
They believe the way he acted Monday night is exactly who he is, and it’s hard to argue against that.
Beckham has made some of the most impossible stretching catches the game of football has ever seen. Now, must make his biggest reach.
At age 27, he has to grow up and be the person everyone in the LSU football program thought he could be when he left for the NFL.