Get Off, Odell

He should be praised and celebrated for that, not mocked.

Jim Rome
October 22, 2020 - 9:46 am
Odell Beckham Jr.

USA Today

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Odell Beckham Jr was in the news yesterday on two different topics. And neither of them is what it appears. Let’s start with LSU, which is going with self-imposed penalties relating to an NCAA investigation into improper booster payments to football players.

Sports Illustrated reported that LSU will lose eight scholarships over two years, will reduce their recruiting visits, because of the payments from boosters to football players. And just about every headline for this story led with the fact that Odell Beckham Jr has been banned from the facility for two years.

And you would think that all of this is connected to Beckham doling out cash to LSU players after the national championship game this year. And then you’re likely to crush him for being so dumb and so stupid as to get his own program in that kind of trouble.

Except Beckham isn’t the problem here. The two grand that he handed out in a moment of jubilation was couch cushion money compared to what John Paul Funes did. This dude is something else.

Funes embezzled nearly $800,000 from a hospital over seven years. Let me repeat that. He stole eight hundred thousand dollars from a hospital. That’s bad and it gets worse.

Let me read you this summary from The Advocate dot com: Funes had admitted stealing gift cards meant for cancer patients, flying family and friends to LSU and New Orleans Saints football games on charter flights labeled as “outbound patient transports,” and sending money to people who did little to no work for the Our Lady of the Lake Foundation.

And one of those people who did little to no work for the OLOL Foundation was the father of an LSU player. The father was paid $180,000 for a no-show job.

So to recap: this guy stole nearly 800 grand from a hospital, including STEALING GIFT CARDS MEANT FOR CANCER PATIENTS, chartered flights to LSU games and Saints games under the guise of transporting patients, gave 180 grand of the money that was supposed to be for the hospital to the parent of an LSU football player, was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for his crimes, but the headline is about Odell Beckham giving a few hundred bucks to a few players.

Because that makes complete and total sense. Because Odell Beckham Jr is the bad guy here. Not the guy who stole 800 grand from a hospital and gift cards from cancer patients.

And that’s before we kick over the hornets’ nest that is not allowing college athletes to receive compensation. Folks are still going to try to make Odell look like the bad guy.

And it wasn’t just the LSU situation that had him in the news, it was Covid as well. Because if you were online at any point in the last 24 hours, you probably read or heard this quote from Beckham: “Not in an arrogant way, I just don’t think COVID can get to me. I don’t think it’s gonna enter this body. I don’t want no parts of it, it don’t want no parts of me. I think it’s a mutual respect.”

And immediately, everyone started cracking on Beckham for saying that Covid didn’t want any part of him and that there was a “mutual respect” between him and the virus.

You know, like the virus and Beckham saw each other walking down the street, they stopped, thought about squaring up for a moment, but then nodded to each other and kept on moving.

You know, like the virus looked at Odell and tipped its cap. Game respects game.

And that’s funny because of course the virus does not respect anyone or anything. It is the most disrespectful thing around. The virus doesn’t care about Who you are, how much you make, how famous you are, or how big and badass you are. If you give it a chance, the virus will run up the score any day all day. It’s not putting in the backups with a big lead. The virus is out there running fake field goals and fake punts up 50, it doesn’t give a damn.

There is no code when it comes to the virus. It will dunk on you and hang on the rim. It will flip the bat, and walk around the bases, backwards. It will start high-stepping at midfield and still get to the end zone, if it wants to.

And so the moment that excerpt came out from Beckham, people were looking to crack on him. But listen to the fuller version of that quote. And if you’re listening, note that he starts to crack a smile when he first answers the question.

He was talking about how he respects the virus and the precautions surrounding the virus. That is excellent. That is what everyone should be doing. This is not something to mess around with.

And this all came about because Beckham wasn’t feeling well last week and he did the right thing – he spoke up and told someone. As a result, he had to miss two days of practice because that is the protocol. And he did the right thing. He should be praised and celebrated for that, not mocked.

He didn’t do the fake macho thing of trying to hide the symptoms or lie about it. Because that is exactly how you get an outbreak.

He didn’t do the thing that happens in every single movie involving a virus, where someone gets the virus through a bite or the air or whatever, and then shows up, pale, sweating, and looking like crap, but pretends they’re fine, and then gets everyone else sick.

Beckham is a role model for other players on this. If you’re feeling sick, don’t fight through it and possibly trigger an outbreak that risks the entire team. Do the right thing and speak out. You’re protecting yourself and everyone around you.  

As Beckham said: “The bleep sucks, but that’s just what we have set up for this year,” Beckham said. “That’s what they seem to have voted on and did all these phone calls and everything to come up with whatever the game plan is gonna be. Like Coach [Stefanski] said, just embrace the suck. It is what it is. Just part of the 2020 season.”

It is just part of the 2020 season. Beckham doesn’t deserve the blame he’s getting for LSU and he does deserve a lot more respect for his respect for Covid.