December 23, 2015 - Aaron Wilson
Odell Beckham Jr. suspension upheld, he issues lengthy apology statement
New York Giants star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. lost his appeal of a one-game suspension for his series of personal fouls against the Carolina Panthers and won't play Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings. Beckham Jr.'s suspension was upheld by appeals officer James Thrash. Beckham has issued a lengthy apology. "I owe some people an apology," he said in a statement released by the Giants. "I wasn’t raised to act like I did the other day. I am not here to make excuses for my conduct. This isn’t about anything that was said or done to me. This is about my behavior, and I am responsible for my behavior. People expect better from me, and I expect better from myself. "First of all, I apologize to the organization I represent, the Giants, and our ownership, John Mara and his family and Steve Tisch and his family. And Jerry Reese, who drafted me and gave me the opportunity to be a part of this organization. I want to apologize to Giants fans. They want to be proud of us, and proud of players like me who represent their team. What happened the other day was embarrassing to them and embarrassing to me. "A lot of kids look up to me as a role model. That is a responsibility I accept and take seriously. Many of the parents of those kids have asked since Sunday what they should say to their children about my conduct. I don’t have the perfect answer, but I think one thing they can say is how I handled myself the other day is an example of how not to conduct yourself. I displayed poor sportsmanship. And those parents can also say that when you act like that, there are consequences. And I hope to be an example of somebody who did something wrong and learned from it. "I owe Coach Coughlin, our coaches and my teammates an apology. They have had to answer for my actions, and that’s not fair to them. How I conduct myself is my responsibility. I let my coaches and teammates down. "I am blessed and privileged to play the game I love, and I will do all I can to carry myself in a way that honors the game, the NFL, my team, my coaches, all my fans and my family moving forward." Beckham got into a series of confrontations with Panthers cornerbacks Josh Norman and Cortland Finnegan. Beckham delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit on Norman. “Acts that jeopardize the safety of players or expose them to unnecessary risk cannot be tolerated,” NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks said in his letter to Beckham on Monday. A Pro Bowl wide receiver, Beckham caught 91 passes for 1,396 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. Norman was fined $26,044. "To depict this as Odell Beckham being wrong, and the only one who's wrong, is not right, it's not fair, it's not justice and it's not the way it was," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "If you're naive enough to think that way, then you'd better do some soul-searching yourself. Beckham certainly was wrong, and we've said he was wrong from Day One. But there were factors involved, starting in pregame, which are well documented, which indicate that there was an attempt to provoke him. "He was provoked. He was out of control, he was wrong, there's no doubt about that. You'd like that it didn't happen. But the fact of the matter is, the situation in the pregame with the baseball bat, and if you know what occurred at the very beginning of the game, you can understand that there were two sides to this and not just one." Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.