Work hard? Play hard?
Is that the culture of the New York Giants receiving corp? After all, it did work for Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, and the 1986 World Series Champion New York Mets. And, arguably the greatest NFL linebacker of all time, who also happens to be a New York Giants Super Bowl champion, Lawrence Taylor, had on-the-field success subscribing to this way of life. Perhaps it (minus the drugs, of course) will also work for Big Blue’s current squad?
The NFL playoffs are simply days away. Hours following their final regular season win over the Washington Redskins, a handful of New York Giants players grabbed headlines for lawful non-football related activities. Eli Manning’s receiving corp of Odell Beckham, Jr., Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis, Jr. were seen kicking it together, shirtless, wearing jeans and timbs, on a boat, down in South Beach, with Trey Songz & crew. And later on, at the club with Justin Bieber, 2 Chainz, Fabolous, Young Jeezy, Meek Mill and only God knows who else. Naturally, when photos and videos surfaced via Trey Songz’s Snapchat, Giants fans and media were all like whoa. New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was pressed about his reaction to seeing the guys in Miami and had this to say, “[Monday] is the players’ day off.” “We look forward to getting on to Green Bay when they get here [Tuesday].”
Welp. In other words, nothing to see here, folks. Next question.
But of course he took that position. Why would McAdoo draw more criticism and attention to the situation by publicly chastising his players? If he has an issue with them taking a 3-hour flight to Miami and chilling on a boat, he should address it with the players privately. And even if he is genuinely unbothered, he may have preferred his players to use better judgement for optics sake. Instead of directing all of his energy towards masterminding a successful game plan for a piping hot Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay Packers team; McAdoo must unnecessarily address the whereabouts of his players as if he’s their babysitter.
Are athletes not entitled to a little downtime to celebrate the holidays during the season? Especially, when they were given a day off and there is a full week between games?
As sports fans, mostly of teams that still have something to play for, we’d like to believe that athletes dedicate 365 days of the year and 24 hours of each day to training, reviewing film, studying the playbook, running routes, and whatever else goes into being an NFL wide receiver. Yes, some players are in that deep with football, but not everyone thrives in the same way. Although Victor Cruz is the only Giants receiver with playoff experience or a ring, don’t for one second believe that Beckham, Jr. will be unprepared on Sunday. His readiness should never be doubted. Furthermore, as a fan of the New York Jets, a team in which tension among teammates was one of many subplots during this forgettable season, I’m here to tell you these are good “problems” to have. Teammates demonstrating great chemistry outside of football is a dream scenario as they head into the playoffs. After 17 weeks, they still enjoy each other; and are healthy enough to kick it. Not many teams can claim that.
So Giants fans, chill. I understand why you’re anxious and in your feelings about seeing the entire receiving corp getting it in in the 305. Because football is life. Also, the side-eyeing actions of Plaxico Burress and Jason Pierre-Paul are not easily forgotten when considering the millions of ways this could’ve gone wrong for the team, at the most crucial time of the season. But thankfully, the guys partied without incident, as far as we know; and will hopefully be rejuvenated and ready to prepare for the Packers today. And if, for whatever reason, the Giants get off to a slow start, as they’ve done all season, and fall to the Packers on Sunday, please don’t point to this Miami trip as the reason. Chances are the inept Giants running game against a Top 10 rushing defense or an unreliable turnover prone birthday boy are more likely to blame.