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Were Antigay Slurs Behind Suspension of N.Y. Giants Receiver Odell Beckham Jr.? 

Were Antigay Slurs Behind Suspension of N.Y. Giants Receiver Odell Beckham Jr.? 

Odell Beckham Jr.

Was a New York Giants player taunted by the North Carolina Panthers, ultimately leading to Odell Beckham Jr.'s one-game suspension?

New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. received a one-game suspension Monday, following three penalties for unnecessary roughness in Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. But according to ESPN, Beckham may have been taunted prior to the game with antigay slurs.

"The pregame incident could provide context to what precipitated Beckham's actions during the game, for which the receiver had been widely criticized," ESPN reports on its website.

"A Giants source told ESPN's Ian O'Connor Monday that Giants players on the field heard Panthers defensive players direct anti-gay slurs and expletives at Beckham before the game, and the source believes that also helped set the confrontational tone for the game."

Though the Panthers play football, it is apparently a Panthers tradition to carry a black baseball bat onto the field. ESPN continues:

"Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond denied Monday that any member of the team used the bat to threaten Beckham. Drummond said the bat tradition is 'nothing new.' The Panthers have carried bats onto the field during pregame warm-ups throughout the season. The bats are meant to symbolize home-run plays and 'bringing the wood.'"

Several of Beckham's in-game altercations were with Carolina cornerback Josh Norman, including a helmet-to-helmet hit, which required Norman be tested for a concussion.

According to the New York Post, former NFL and MLB player turned analyst Deion Sanders said he questioned Beckham about the pregame incident on the sidelines with a Panthers practice team player. "[That player] took the bat, walked over to Odell like he was gonna hit him in his knees, saying, 'We're gonna end your career today," Sanders recounted Beckham telling him. "Then it got personal, you start talking about his hairstyle, then you start talking about his sexuality."

Speaking with press after the game, Norman claimed that Beckham was "gonna come out here and dance around and prance around like you're a ballerina," according to the Post. Meanwhile, Norman's teammate Cortland Finnegan suggested that Beckham was overcome by his emotions, saying, "Maybe it's female-related. Maybe it's in the blood."

These public statements could lend credence to the allegations that Panthers players were harassing Beckham before the game, although Panthers supporters say the Giants are using excuses to detract from Beckham's bad behavior during the game.

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