VATICAN CITY (CBSNewYork/AP) — The volatile nature of Odell Beckham Jr. was on John Mara’s mind at a Vatican conference on faith and sport.
The New York Giants president, CEO and co-owner, appearing at the conference on Thursday, discussed the receiver’s latest outbursts on the sidelines.
“He’s a young man who is very emotional, but he’s basically a very good young man who does a lot of good things off the field,” Mara told The Associated Press. “But he plays the game with a lot of passion and sometimes he goes a little too far.
“But that’s true with a lot of players,” Mara added. “Unfortunately for him, it seems like everybody’s focused on him right now.”
Beckham’s antics were on full display in New York’s 24-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. He was penalized for taunting after making a catch near the sideline and being hit by the Vikings’ Xavier Rhodes.
A week earlier, Beckham threw a tantrum on the sideline in which he used his helmet to hit a kicking net, which swung back and hit him in the face.
While Beckham is one of the NFL’s most talented receivers, he’s been making more headlines lately for tantrums, outbursts and penalty flags.
Mara is headlining a panel Friday on “big sports, big business.” He’s already been involved in discussions on sports values and maintaining respect on the playing field — issues he plans to bring back to New York and to the Giants.
“You’re always going to have incidents on the field because it’s an emotional game and people play with a lot of passion, and I think we have an obligation to try to minimize that as much as possible and try to talk to people to get them to understand that there’s a certain way which you should act on the field,” said the 61-year-old Mara, whose grandfather, Tim, founded the Giants in 1925.
“We were talking about respect and treating your opponents with respect, and you don’t always see that in professional sports,” Mara added. “So that is one of the messages of this conference.”
On the subject of faith, Mara mentioned how Giants players kneel together in prayer inside the locker room after each game.
“Nobody is forced to do it and it’s been done for years and years and I’m not even sure how it got started, but it’s just something that they do naturally,” he said.
“Of course a lot of times before that or just after that there’s all sorts of language used depending on the outcome of the game, which maybe doesn’t quite fit. But there is always that moment where they do kneel and say a prayer, and I think that’s a good thing.”
Mara also said he is working on bringing another Super Bowl to MetLife Stadium after a successful 2014 edition, which marked the first time the game was played in the New York City area and the first time a cold-weather city was host for an outdoor Super Bowl.
“We’ve looked at the possibility of ’22, ’23, in that area. We’ll be sitting down with the Jets in the near future to talk about re-energizing to plan that,” Mara said. “We think it was very successful two years ago and there’s no reason why it couldn’t be that successful again. I don’t know that we would get the same weather — we got pretty lucky with that — but we were prepared for everything and it ended up being great weather.”
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