Do players of color face a double standard in the NFL?
Odell Beckham Jr. believes so, and he’s not afraid to talk about it.
GQ on Monday published a lengthy piece about the Cleveland Browns receiver, who’s been among the NFL’s most polarizing personalities since entering the league in 2014 with the New York Giants. At multiple points in the piece, Beckham makes it clear he believes he’s the victim of a double standard.
When asked whether race plays a bard in that “double standard,” Beckham cited New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as a prime example.
“Race plays into everything, whether we want to believe it or not. I remember posting a video of me and Tom Brady, and I hate to even bring him in this, but he’s passionate. He cares—he wouldn’t still be playing if he didn’t care for the game the way that he did today. He throws a cup, he yells at referees, he yells at his coach. It’s because he cares that bad. He wants to win that bad. Now, because he has won six Super Bowls they validate him and say, “He’s won six Super Bowls.” I want to win the same way he wants to win. Whether I hit a kicking net or whether I do whatever. I want to win that bad. I care about winning more than anything. I didn’t get into this to celebrate and score touchdowns. I didn’t get into this for followers for Instagram. It’s, like, you’ve built a monster, but now you’re upset at the one you built. Why are you mad at me? While I’m playing football, I’m not holding a camera on myself. Everything is about what you show the world. I get my free time 16 times a year, hopefully, plus a few games when we make the playoffs. I get 16 times to do this. There are 365 days in a year. You’re controlling my freedom. This is my joy, this is my time.”
Make of that what you will.
Beckham was traded to the Browns during the offseason, ending a roller-coaster stint in New York. Surrounded by talent at nearly every position, Beckham finally might have the chance to prove that winning really is all that matters to him.
Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images