Josh Norman, Panthers Reportedly Taunted Odell Beckham Jr. with Baseball Bats – Bleacher Report

Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman and at least one team official reportedly taunted star New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. during pregame warm-ups Sunday by swinging baseball bats and making comments toward him, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Jay Glazer of FoxSports.com shared a video on Instagram showing Norman wielding one of the bats:

The Giants also posted a video on Instagram revealing a Panthers player holding a bat close to New York’s players as they ran onto the field:

ELI greets his teammates as they take the field! #CARvsNYG 🏈

A video posted by New York Giants (@nygiants) on Dec 20, 2015 at 9:14am PST

Giants Daily shared another clip from before the game where a practice-squad player went into the Giants’ stretching area and had a confrontation with Beckham:

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported Marcus Bell, a Carolina practice-squad player, was carrying a bat and that he and Beckham had to be restrained after a confrontation before the game. Per Rapoport, both the Giants and the NFL league office were trying to determine why Norman was carrying around a bat.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported the Giants “are convinced” Beckham was “threatened physically and called homophobic slurs” in incidents before the game with Panthers players. La Canfora added that Carolina officials “deny strongly any threats or slurs were made.”

The practice of wielding bats before the game has apparently become a ritual for the Panthers, however. According to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer, they symbolize the secondary trying to hit home run plays.

Panthers cornerback Bene Benwikere—who brought out a bat when the team played the Atlanta Falcons—confirmed the tradition:

A Panthers source told Pro Football Talk that New York’s complaints about the bats could be boiled down to the “Giants trying to distract from [the] Beckham antics.”

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com agreed:

Beckham, however, reportedly was enraged after a Panthers player threatened to “end his day,” per Glazer. The Panthers denied any such threat was made.

Norman and Beckham spent much of the game fighting with one another, including a particularly brutal helmet-to-helmet hit from the wideout. NFL Vice President of Football Communications Michael Signora announced on Monday afternoon that Beckham has been suspended for one game for his role in Sunday’s spectacle. 

The Panthers went on to beat the Giants, 38-35, as quarterback Cam Newton led his team to a game-winning field goal as time expired after New York overcame a 35-7 deficit in the second half.

 

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