Odell Beckham went a little crazy on Sunday. He was on tilt for a long stretch at the end of the first quarter, and then later in the game hit Josh Norman in the helmet with a late hit that should have resulted in ejection. His prominence, the matchup with the 14-0 Panthers, it being New York, and the current social media climate where every thing is amplified, only added to it.
Mike Wilbon brought some perspective.
We often forget things that happened months and years ago. They pass into the ether. Some day, someone might be ripping on a young athlete of the next generation while comparing him to Odell Beckham. I mean, would you have pictured this comparative kind of praise for Michael Irvin and Cris Carter, released by the Eagles due to his alcohol problems, early in their careers?
Jerry Rice had a long and distinguished career and is the best wide receiver of all-time. In the January 1994 Championship Game, he got into it with cornerback Kevin Smith. The 49ers refused to shake hands during warmups, and Rice shoved Smith in the face after the game started. He was hit with a 15-yard penalty for taking a swing at Smith, and later acknowledged losing his cool.
Cris Carter wasn’t a choir boy off the field, and could talk with the best of them on. In the notable Monday Night game against the Packers that produced Antonio Freeman’s crazy catch, Carter later admitted that he could have been ejected, and he was fined. From the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 2000:
The Vikings’ wide receiver was fined $5,000 by the NFL for kicking at a Green Bay player during Monday night’s game, a league spokesman said Thursday.
Unlike many players who are fined, Carter didn’t dispute the decision made by Gene Washington of the NFL office.
“It was well-deserved,” Carter said Thursday as he left Winter Park.
On third and 19 from the Vikings’ 7 early in the second quarter, Carter kicked at Packers defensive back Antuan Edwards on an incomplete pass. After seeing Carter kick at Edwards, at the end of a play, eight Green Bay defenders surrounded Carter, who was still on the ground. Cornerback Mike McKenzie went after Carter and was penalized 15 yards for taunting Carter.
Carter was not penalized for his kick, which landed on Edwards’ chest. He likely would have been ejected if officials had seen it.
And then there’s Michael Irvin. Let’s set aside the myriad of off-field issues, from being accused of attacking a charity basketball game referee to attacking a teammate with a pair of scissors. Here’s Irvin losing his mind, throwing his helmet and punches in a fight with the Giants in 1993, after Alvin Harper was hit on what was considered a cheap shot that set things off.
That same incident involved teammate James Washington grabbing a photographers’ monopod and threatening players with it. At least it wasn’t a bat. Things were more civilized in the old days.