The tumultuous battle between Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr. on Sunday might have started even before kickoff.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that the Carolina Panthers started the mind games during pregame warmups. According to Schefter, at least one Panthers official carried a black baseball bat onto the field before the game and motioned at Beckham. Schefter reported Norman also had a turn with the bat at some point.
NorthJersey.com reported Monday that some trash talk also was involved, as is expected. A source told The Record’s Art Stapleton that Panthers players told Beckham they were coming to “beat the (expletive) out of him.”
Another Panthers cornerback, Bene Benwikere, all but confirmed the allegations — at least the bat part — with a string of tweets Monday. According to him (and photos from previous games), this is nothing new for the Panthers.
Schefter eventually pointed out that fact, too.
Beckham clearly was agitated all game long. He and Norman repeatedly got into it during the game and after whistles. That included a vicious-looking helmet-to-helmet hit from Beckham that reportedly “likely” will get him suspended one game. Giants coach Tom Coughlin admitted he considered benching Beckham, instead electing to leave the wideout in the game. Carolina won the game with a last-second field goal.
It’s safe to say this isn’t the last we’ve heard of this story.
UPDATE (3:14 p.m. ET): There’s also video of Norman holding the bat.
The bat business also might have led to a pregame skirmish between Beckham and a Panthers practice-squad player.
UPDATE (3:30 p.m. ET): As Business Insider pointed out, a Panthers staffer in a video on the Giants’ Instagram page can be seen pointing the bat at someone during pregame warmups.
UPDATE (4:01 p.m. ET): The NFL officially suspended Beckham for one game.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@BigPlayBene