New York Giants fine Odell Beckham Jr. for comments on team’s heart

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants have fined wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for comments he made last week questioning the team’s heart, according to a report by Fox Sports.

Speaking to ESPN’s Josina Anderson last week, the Pro Bowl wide receiver said the 1-4 Giants lacked passion.

“A lot of it has to do with the energy that we don’t have, that we don’t bring every single day,” he said in an interview that aired Sunday. “And you know me. I’m a passionate, energetic person. I always have to have that. If I don’t, it’s gonna be a problem for me. And just playing with some heart. We just need to play with some heart.”

Beckham also said in the interview, conducted alongside rapper Lil Wayne, that the Giants needed to throw the ball downfield more often.

When asked if quarterback Eli Manning was the problem, Beckham said, “Uhh, I don’t know. I feel like … He’s not going to get out of the pocket. We know Eli’s not going to run it. Can he still throw it? Yeah. It’s cool catching it shallow and trying to take it, but I want to go over the top of somebody.”

Coach Pat Shurmur expressed his public disapproval of Beckham’s actions over the weekend.

“All right, listen, I’m going to answer all the drama questions right now and I’m going to go back to what I said. I addressed it with Odell. I addressed it with our team,” Shurmur said in an animated tone after Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. “I publicly declared that I didn’t agree with his comments and I asked anybody that was interested if they wanted clarification [to] go to Odell because he’s a big man.

“Now, I’m not going to give the public a pound of flesh on this, all right. … These are the kind of things, in my opinion, when we have the locker room that we have that will help galvanize them because the locker room took care of it, and that is all I’m saying on it. Finito. Done.”

Beckham didn’t apologize or take back his comments, and said he thought it had a positive effect on the team.

“I don’t regret anything,” he said. “I don’t regret anything that I said. If it took that for us to come together as a team like we did [Sunday]. I can take that every single time.”

Manning brushed off the comments, saying he and Beckham “have a great relationship.”

Beckham led the Giants with 39 catches for 462 yards and a touchdown entering Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

But his frustration was visible in that game. With two seconds left in the first half and the Giants trailing 24-6, Beckham was seen walking off the field and into the locker room before the final play. He did not return until after the opening kickoff of the second half.

They ran one final play before halftime with their offense on the field. Beckham was nowhere to be seen.

Beckham also left early two weeks earlier in a loss to the Saints to receive an IV.

Beckham had two catches on four targets for 12 yards in the first half, when the Giants were a discombobulated mess. Manning was 10-of-23 passing for 163 yards with an interception as they managed only two field goals in the opening 30 minutes.

Shurmur was even caught on camera in the second quarter appearing to say, “Throw the ball!” after Manning dumped a second-and-long pass to Cody Latimer in the flat. He then dumped a third-and-long pass well short of the first-down marker before the Giants punted.

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Todd Bowles, New York Jets coach, shrugs off Jamal Adams’ comments

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — New York Jets coach Todd Bowles on Wednesday shrugged off comments made by Jamal Adams, claiming the second-year safety meant no harm by suggesting in a radio interview that the defense was unprepared to face Baker Mayfield last week.

“He misspoke,” Bowles said. “He didn’t mean it. He’s a young player, and part of having a young player as a leader sometimes he’s going to have growing pains. It’s a teachable moment. He understands that. We talked about it.”

Bowles was reluctant to elaborate, saying, “I don’t even want to go into” the specifics of what Adams said. “That’s just making excuses, and I’m not trying to make excuses.”

During his weekly paid spot on WFAN radio, Adams said Tuesday they “didn’t have a game plan” for Mayfield and “weren’t prepared for him.” The No. 1 overall pick, in his NFL debut, inherited a 14-0 deficit and rallied the Cleveland Browns to a 21-17 win last Thursday in Cleveland — the franchise’s first win in 20 games.

Adams, one of the Jets’ defensive leaders, appeared to be pointing a finger at the coaching staff. On Wednesday, he insisted that wasn’t the case at all, saying the Jets have one of the best coaching staffs in the league.

“Yeah, let’s clear that up,” Adams told reporters. “If you listen to the interview, it tells you everything I said. I simply said we prepared for Tyrod (Taylor). Obviously, he went down with the injury. We didn’t know that at the time. Baker came in. He had energy. He had confidence. I did not say the coaching staff never had us prepare for two quarterbacks. I did not say that. We’re going to end it at that, and we’re going to move on.”

Adams quickly turned the conversation to the Jets’ next opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars — a difficult road test.

He received the benefit of the doubt from Bowles, who evidently felt Adams’ only transgression was a poor choice of words. Still, it created negative publicity for a team that was reeling after a crushing, prime-time loss. The Jets (1-2) have dropped two straight.

“It’s not a bad look,” Bowles said. “It’s a young player. I know what he meant. The team knows what he meant and we’ve moved on from there. It’s not a bad look. It’s part of a young player getting older and dealing with the media. He’s going to have some growing pains. He’ll work through them and we’ll be fine.”

Bowles gave the same alibi in August, when Adams was quoted by Bleacher Report as saying the team last season “was used to losing” and “everybody wanted to do the bare minimum.”

Again, Bowles insisted he wasn’t upset with Adams. Asked his initial reaction after hearing comments from the radio interview, Bowles said, “I didn’t have one.”

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Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson ‘not worried’ about racist comments directed toward him

HOUSTON — Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson said he is “not worried” about the racist comments from an East Texas superintendent who wrote Sunday on Facebook that “you can’t count on a black quarterback.”

“That’s on him,” Watson said. “May peace be with him. I worry about me, so I’m not worried about what he has to say.”

The comments came on a post after the Texans’ loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Lynn Redden, the superintendent of the Onalaska Independent School District, was referring to the final play of the game, when Watson held on to the ball as time expired.

“That may have been the most inept quarterback decision I’ve seen in the NFL,” Redden wrote. “When you need precision decision making you can’t count on a black quarterback.”

On Wednesday, Watson said he has “of course” dealt with racism before, but “it’s just [part of] everyday life.”

“But I’m all about love, [so] I don’t focus on [any] of that. I love all people. And that’s what I focus on. It’s part of life. I can’t control other people and what their beliefs are. I can control what I can control, so I just focus on me, and that’s it.”

Watson was asked if he thought the superintendent should be fired.

“That’s not my job,” Watson said. “I don’t make that decision.”

Texans coach Bill O’Brien called the comments “ignorant” and “outdated.”

“I really don’t want to waste a lot of time responding to outdated, inaccurate, ignorant, idiotic statements,” O’Brien said. “I’ll just let Deshaun’s proven success on the field, his character off the field, speak for itself. He’s one of the greatest guys I’ve ever coached. He represents everything that’s right about football, about life.

“His teammates respect him, his coaching staff respects him, and in this day and age, it’s just amazing that this B.S. exists. But it does. But we’re moving forward.”

J.J. Watt echoed O’Brien’s comments, saying that he doesn’t think that story “deserves any attention from any [of] us.”

“I think it’s a very ignorant comment that doesn’t deserve any more play than it should get,” Watt said. “It’s very unfortunate.

“But I trust him. I trust him a whole lot. We all trust him a whole lot.”

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Redden said he thought he was sending a private message and deleted the comment once he realized it was public.

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Brandon Marshall of Denver Broncos on President Donald Trump comments — ‘Disgusting’

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, who knelt during the national anthem before eight games in 2016 and in Week 3 last season, had a strong response Thursday to President Donald Trump’s support of the NFL’s new anthem policy.

In an interview with Fox News, the president supported the NFL’s policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room.

“I think that’s good,” Trump said. “I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”

Marshall called the president’s comments “disgusting.”

“I say ‘disgusting’ because of our First Amendment rights,” Marshall said. “We have freedom of speech, right? Freedom to protest? Because somebody decides to protest something, now have to be kicked out of the country? That’s not how things should work, in my opinion. … Just because somebody disagrees with something, or if I didn’t stand for the anthem, or if I don’t like what’s going on, that’s basically him saying I should be kicked out the country.

“We’re supposed to have a conversation about things, talk about things, work things through. Everybody is not gonna agree on things, everybody is not gonna have the same opinion on things. So just because somebody disagrees or has an issue with something that’s going on in this country, it doesn’t mean that they should pack up and leave. That’s absurd, in my opinion.”

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin also had a strong reaction to Trump’s comments.

“He’s an idiot. Plain and simple,” Baldwin said. “I respect the man because he’s a human being, first and foremost. But he’s just being move divisive, which is not surprising. It is what it is. For him to say that anyone who doesn’t follow his viewpoints or his constituents’ viewpoints should be kicked out of the country, it’s not very empathetic, it’s not very American-like, actually to me. It’s not very patriotic. It’s not what this country was founded upon.

“It’s kind of ironic to me that the president of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on.”

Marshall, who was Colin Kaepernick‘s teammate at the University of Nevada and is in regular contact with him, was one of the first players to take a knee after Kaepernick did so in 2016. Marshall later met with officials with the Denver Police Department about the use-of-force policy and said he has continued to try “to work in my community to make things better for everyone involved.”

Marshall said he believes the NFL’s new anthem policy, approved at the league meetings on Wednesday, is not a real solution.

“I don’t like it, but that’s my opinion. I don’t like it. I understand it, though. I don’t like it, but I understand it and what they’re trying to protect — they’re trying to protect the shield,” he said, referring to the NFL’s emblem.

“The reason we did this in the first place was to bring attention to police brutality,” Marshall continued. “That’s the reason why we took a knee and that was just a symbol of what was going on, just like the flag is a symbol of America. So taking a knee was a symbol and the work came after that. Colin has been doing work, I’ve been doing work, Malcolm Jenkins, a bunch of guys have been doing work. So to me the knee wasn’t the end all, be all. There should have been action behind the knee, and there was.”

In Pittsburgh, Steelers cornerback Artie Burns said the new policy’s singling out of protesting players makes him frustrated.

“That’s just another topic to get everybody against each other. I hate that we have to go down this route, but it is what it is,” Burns said. “It makes [the protesters] look bad. Your whole team is out there and you come running out like, ‘Oh, he’s the guy.’ Who wants to go through that? That’s humiliating us as a person, because we’re trying to stand for something, to single us out in front of everybody.”

Burns added the policy won’t be an issue for the Steelers and he will be standing during the anthem. But those who want to protest have two difficult choices, Burns said: Stay in the locker room or potentially face discipline or team fines. “You talk about bullying; that’s bullying, man,” Burns said.

The NFL’s policy states that players and league personnel on the field before a game will “stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem” and the team will be fined if individuals on the sideline “do not show proper respect for the flag and Anthem.”

“I feel like it might make people want to just rebel,” Marshall said. ” … And let’s be clear, I know they say they might fine the team, but players don’t care about that. Players don’t care about the team gets fined.”

Marshall added the Broncos, including former coach Gary Kubiak, president and CEO Joe Ellis and linebackers coach Reggie Herring, “have had my back. … This organization has been good to me.”

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler contributed to this report.

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