- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

NEW YORK — Odell Beckham Jr. is going to have to serve his one-game suspension.

Hearing officer James Thrash upheld the suspension for multiple violations of safety-related playing rules after an appeal by the New York Giants wide receiver on Wednesday.

Beckham will miss the Giants‘ game Sunday night at the Minnesota Vikings. He is barred from team meetings, attending or watching practices, attending Sunday’s game or having contact with any club personnel except to arrange off-site medical treatment or rehabilitation. He will be reinstated on Monday.

“I owe some people an apology. I wasn’t raised to act like I did the other day,” Beckham said in a statement issued by the Giants.

“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.”

The league suspended Beckham for his conduct against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday when he drew three personal foul penalties — including one for a diving helmet-to-helmet hit on cornerback Josh Norman.

Norman was fined $26,044 for his role in the confrontations.

Beckham also had a run-in with a Panthers player in warmups.

The suspension was handed down by NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks, who, according to a press release issued by the league, wrote in a letter to Beckham that “acts that jeopardize the safety of players or expose them to unnecessary risk cannot be tolerated.”

Beckham was penalized three times for unnecessary roughness, including a late helmet-to-helmet hit against a defenseless player in which Beckham left his feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into his opponent.

“I appealed my suspension because it is a right granted to all players under the NFL’s CBA,” Beckham wrote Wednesday on his Twitter account, “and because I owe it to my teammates to do everything I can to be on the field this week. Regardless of the outcome of my appeal, I apologize for my actions on Sunday. I work hard to be great and accepting the blessing of having the physical skills to play at this level brings the responsibility to conduct myself in a certain way on and off the field. Sportsmanship and respecting the game are as important as blocking, running routes, catching the football. I dropped the ball on sportsmanship on Sunday.”

Beckham has a base salary of $893,000 and will lose $55,813 for being suspended for Sunday night’s game.

The offensive rookie of the year last season, Beckham has 91 catches for 1,396 yards, and his 13 touchdown receptions are tied for the league lead. His absence could be a huge factor for a team barely in playoff contention.

Beckham and Norman tangled from the beginning of the game on Sunday.

“At numerous times during [Sunday’s] game against the Carolina Panthers, your actions placed a fellow player at unnecessary risk, and clearly did not represent the high standards of sportsmanship expected,” Hanks wrote in his letter to Beckham.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin noted that his wide receiver was not the only player at fault for the rough and sometimes dirty play in the game. He referred to the Panthers’ recent tradition of carrying a baseball bat during warmups, and to comments allegedly made by Carolina players to Beckham.

New York punter Brad Wing said Wednesday that Beckham was threatened by an unidentified bat-wielding man dressed in Panthers sweats during warmups. Wing said the man refused to shake Beckham’s hand after it was offered near midfield and later crossed onto the Giants‘ side of the field with the bat in hand.

“I’ll be the reason this will be your last game,” Wing recalled the man saying to Beckham.

“The only thing I’ll say about the incident that occurred the other day in the game … is the fact that to depict this as Odell Beckham being wrong, and the only one wrong, is not right,” Coughlin said. “It’s not fair, it’s not justice, it’s not the way it was. If you’re naïve enough to think that way, then you better do some soul-searching yourself.

Beckham certainly was wrong, and we 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 it. You’d like that that didn’t happen.

“But, the fact of the matter is, if you know that, the situation pregame with the baseball bat, and if you know what occurred at the very beginning of the game, you can understand that there was two sides to this and not just one.”


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