Is Baker Mayfield Freezing Odell Beckham Out?

Is Baker Mayfield Freezing Odell Beckham Out?

For all those looking for honesty in the sports media, I give you ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, the noted sports debate talk show host and NFL guru. This week, Smith turned his attention to the brewing problems of the Cleveland Browns and their less than stellar star wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. You see, Stephen A. Smith believes the franchise and the quarterback are giving the overhyped and underachieving wideout the freeze out by not throwing him the damn ball. Of course, Stephen A. needed to admit while making his comments about the team’s “plan” that he had no facts to support his position. Nevertheless, is Stephen A. Smith be correct about what his saying about the Browns and OBJ? 

.@stephnasmith thinks OBJ needs to get out of Cleveland ASAP.

“He is open! And he is not getting the damn ball! … I don’t believe it’s by accident. I believe that’s on purpose.” pic.twitter.com/tqQ0Cj3RNY

— First Take (@FirstTake) October 14, 2021

There are generally two times when the character and state of mind an athlete possesses is revealed, when they are winning, and when they are losing. Shortly after their week 5 loss to the Chargers, Odell Beckham, Jr. expressed some sadness about how he was not getting the ball this year for the Cleveland Browns, but was happy the team had a 3-2 record. It was likely the lack of catches comment that pinged the radar of Stephen A. Smith, who often in an effort to make himself look great, will add fuel to a potential fire in order to come back and scream “FIRE!” When discussing Odell Beckham, Jr. on his ESPN “First Take” program, Smith offered this:

“I’m going to make an accusation here. It’s unfounded. It’s just my personal opinion. If Baker Mayfield is as good as y’all say he is, why ain’t that man getting the ball? Because you don’t want to give him the ball.” Smith later added, “I am making the accusation that it is intentional why that brother hasn’t been found.”

While I appreciate Mr. Smith providing the audience with a disclaimer before making a ridiculous statement … the sad part is I don’t think he understands the tone his comment can give off, and yes, I am talking about the race card. On the surface it is easy to say that the Cleveland Browns are trying to deflate the offensive output of Odell Beckham, Jr. simply because it would make it easier to lowball him on his next contract offer and even let him go. But when Smith makes his unfounded accusation personal by including the name of quarterback Baker Mayfield, there’s a tiny part of me that cringes just because there may be a hint of racism in Smith’s opinion/suggestion.

I am sure pre-snap if you told Baker Mayfield or almost any high school, college or NFL quarterback what formation and play had been called, he could tell you where every player on the offensive side of the ball was lined up. I am also confident that during a game, regardless of who is open, if Baker Mayfield or any QB sees an open wide receiver, let alone Odell Beckham, they will try and get them the ball. This is why Smith’s comment is also reckless and someone needs to call him out on it.

Think about it, Beckham didn’t return to the lineup until week 3 of this season after suffering a torn ACL in 2020.  This is an injury that most NFL players who rely on their speed as a weapon take not one year, but two full seasons to recover from and get back to what their new 100% will be.

Now, here comes Stephen A. Smith, who after just three games is accusing both the Cleveland Browns, and very directly Baker Mayfield of purposely hurting the team by not throwing Odell Beckham the football during games. I have heard of poetic license when it comes to writing, but I thought that was only in novels and screenplays, not sports commentary.

This is why, when it comes to my football news and opinions, ESPN and especially Stephen A. Smith are a places and people I try to avoid at all cost. 

 

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