Saturday, June 23, 2018
Sports

League upholds Beckham's ban

NEW YORK — Odell Beckham will have to serve his one-game suspension.

That was one of the few certainties after another day of "he said, he said" (or maybe didn't say) stemming from Sunday's ugly Giants-Panthers game.

Hearing officer James Thrash upheld the suspension Wednesday for multiple violations of safety-related playing rules after hearing the Giants wide receiver's appeal. Beckham will miss Sunday's game at Minnesota; he will be reinstated Monday.

Beckham issued an apology on the Giants' website after the suspension was upheld. "I wasn't raised to act like I did the other day," it read in part.

His helmet-to-helmet hit on Panthers cornerback Josh Norman was the incident that stood out in a game full of conflicts between the two players.

Several more lingering story lines emerged Wednesday:

• Giants Tom Coughlin said there was more than one villain: "To depict this as Odell Beckham being wrong, and the only one wrong, is not right," he said. Coughlin accused the Panthers of instigating the situation, referring to Panthers players carrying a baseball bat during warmups. "Beckham certainly was wrong, and we said he was wrong from Day 1. But there were factors involved starting in pregame (that) are well-documented, which indicate that there was an attempt to provoke him," Coughlin said.

• NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said he contacted the officiating crew during the game, reminding them ejections were an option. "There was a point during the game when I did get on the headset to the replay official to remind the referee that you can eject players, you'll have our full support, this thing cannot get out of control," Blandino told NFL Network. He said Beckham should have been ejected, adding, "The officials, if you ask them, they would agree after looking at the tape that ejections were warranted."

• Giants punter Brad Wing said one Panther — who Wing didn't identify — told Beckham in warmups that, "I'll be the reason this will be your last game." Wing was referring to practice squad player Marcus Ball. Video surfaced on Instagram, taken from the stands, showed Ball with a baseball bat confronting a visibly upset Beckham. Ball told NFL Network he made no threats.

• Norman was fined $26,044 for his actions Sunday — $8,681 for a face mask penalty and $17,363 for striking Beckham in the head and neck area.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera on Tuesday denied reports that his players used homophobic slurs toward Beckham. ESPN reported that no evidence of slurs was presented during Beckham's hearing. Asked Wednesday if he or the Panthers directed homophobic slurs toward Beckham, Norman said: "I don't know what you're talking about."

Panthers spokesman Steve Drummond said Carolina has had the bat — meant to represent "home run plays" — during warmups all season and that last week it symbolized injured cornerback Bene Benwikere.

Raiders: Rookie defensive end Mario Edwards, a former Florida State standout, went on season-ending injured reserve with a neck injury.

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