New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr was suspended for one game by the NFL on Monday for rules infractions, including a helmet-to-helmet hit on Josh Norman, in Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Beckham, whose spectacular one-handed catches and runs have made him one of the league’s top receivers in just his second season, is to miss Sunday’s game in Minnesota against the Vikings.
Beckham was penalized three times for personal fouls against Norman, one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks, in Carolina’s 38-35 victory, which kept the Panthers unbeaten with a 14-0 record.
Marquee receiver Beckham and premier cornerback Norman waged a ferocious battle spiked by trash talking, grabbing, pushing, punching, kicking and a serial display of cheap shots that earned both players several penalties.
The litany of cheap shots climaxed with a shockingly dangerous helmet-to-helmet hit by Beckham, who launched himself from the blind side to strike Norman on his helmet at the end of a running play in the third quarter.
The timing of the hit could not be worse in a climate of concern over concussions in the NFL in a week in which the opening of the Hollywood film Concussion will likely reignite talk on the dangers of repetitive blows to the head.
“If you take a shot at a guy’s head, I mean, come on now,” Norman told reporters after the game. “That’s kind of going a little too far.”
Norman, a full participant in the verbal and physical jousting leading up to the spearing, said that Beckham should have been ejected for launching himself like a missile at his head.
“The guy ran 15 yards down the field — a dead-on collision,” Norman said. “He came back and was hunting; and it was malicious in every way.”
“I mean, it’s ridiculous,” he added.
Beckham deflected questions about the outrageous hit, but Giants coach Tom Coughlin said his young receiver lost his composure and that he had considered putting Beckham on the bench.
“It was a consideration. In fact, it was a strong consideration,” said Coughlan, who in the end decided he needed Beckham on the field as the Giants strained to keep pace in the NFC East race.
“I wanted him to play the game. He had to learn. He’s got to learn at some point how to deal with some things on the field,” Coughlan said.
“I want him out there to win the football game,” he added.
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