BROOK PARK — The NFL hit Odell Beckham Jr. in the wallet, and the Browns wide receiver fired back Tuesday, verbally blasting the league over fining him $14,037 for a uniform violation.
The superstar player made the comments after spending part of his day off bowling with 45 students from the Canton City School District at AMF Brookgate Lanes. The event was part of the Browns’ initiative to encourage school attendance.
Beckham said he’ll appeal the fine he received for his pants failing to cover the knee area Oct. 13 in a 32-28 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He said he had been fined for the same uniform violation in previous years.
“It’s just wack,” Beckham said. “Getting fined $15,000 for some pants, and a knee pad that’s this big is not going to protect me from getting hit [by New England Patriots linebacker] Dont’a Hightower straight into my knee.
“It’s stupid. You know? There’s no way around it. You can ask people in the NFL. I got hit from all kinds of different players and different teams. It’s just wack.”
The fine for the uniform violation was the same amount Beckham and Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey were each docked for fighting during the Browns’ 40-25 win on Sept. 29.
“It’s just different for me,” Beckham said, referring to the treatment he receives from the league. “Whatever the case may be, they feel the need to fine me for some pants that cost probably six cents to make, and we’re getting fined $15,000. They’re just finding a way to pull the money back from the players.”
Beckham argued “nobody wears their knee pads over their kneecaps unless they play quarterback and don’t have to really run.”
Although the NFL will likely cut Beckham some slack after he appeals, he’s still frustrated.
“Taking it from $14,000 to $3,000, I’m still losing $3,000 for something that should not [result in punishment],” said Beckham, who posted the fine letter from the NFL on Instagram on Monday night. “If you want us to be protected, then we need to be in full metal gear and not be able to run and move.
“What’s more important, being able to run and move or the protection because that pad is not going to do a single thing? I’ve been hit in the thigh pads that are given to us and had a thigh contusion and later tore it during the season. It’s not going to do nothing. This is a gladiator sport. They’re there for the rules and that’s it. Other than that, they’re not there for protection.”
Nothing but respect
Before or after the Browns (2-4) face the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (7-0) on Sunday in Foxborough, Massachusetts, Beckham plans to gift a special pair of cleats to quarterback Tom Brady, considered by many to be the GOAT (greatest of all time).
“I have a pair of cleats for him made out of — I hope no animals were really harmed — but made out of goat hair,” Beckham said. “[I have a pair] for me, too, but I’m gonna give them to him because he’s one of the GOATs, and he’s more the GOAT than I am.”
During a conference call Tuesday morning with Browns beat writers, Patriots coach Bill Belichick praised Beckham, calling him “a game-breaker” who “can score from anywhere on the field.”
Belichick added, “He’s a dynamic player, and we played against him before. He’s a tough guy to handle. I have a ton of respect for him as a football player.”
Beckham was made aware of the compliment at the bowling event.
“I remember me saying a quote about wanting to be like the Patriots,” Beckham said. “It’s like, ‘Who doesn’t want to win and who doesn’t want to have a full team perform … just the full, complete game, the way [Belichick has] made that organization along with Brady and [owner Robert] Kraft and everybody else who’s come through and kinda molded and developed it?’ I’ll see [Belichick] after the game, and I’ll give him love or if I see him before the game. It’s always nothing but love and respect for Brady as well.”
Through an “OBJ attendance challenge,” 12 Canton schools each had a chance to send a few students to the bowling event with Beckham. The students were selected for possessing perfect school attendance the past few weeks and overall classroom leadership.
Before they started bowling, Beckham spoke to the kids about the importance of education and school attendance.
Later, while addressing reporters, Beckham explained his parents “always stressed to me that the school work was important. I know some of the most talented people I’ve ever seen not be in the NFL because of the school work, not getting it done.”
Beckham said he wants to participate in more community events like the bowling outing.
“I just love being around kids,” he said. “I just love being able to inspire somebody. I remember when I was their age and I looked at somebody that way. So I know that I have a role in society and a role for these kids, so I just want to fulfill my legacy in each and every way.”
The Browns signed defensive tackle Eli Ankou off the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars. They also signed linebacker Montrel Meander, a former safety, to the practice squad and released running back Elijah McGuire from the practice squad.
In his third NFL season out of UCLA, Ankou has appeared in 11 career games, all with the Jaguars. He has had 19 tackles and 1.5 sacks. He had been on the Jaguars’ practice squad since this season started.
The Browns had an opening on their active roster after trading backup center Austin Corbett to the Los Angeles Rams last week. Source: BBC.co.uk