Gi­ants’ Mara dis­cusses Beck­ham at Vat­i­can

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By An­drew Dampf

The volatile na­ture of Odell Beck­ham Jr . was on John Mara’s mind at a Vat­i­can con­fer­ence on faith and sport.

The New York Gi­ants pres­i­dent, CEO and coowner, ap­pear­ing at the con­fer­ence on Thurs­day, dis­cussed the re­ceiver’s lat­est out­bursts on the side­lines.

“He’s a young man who is very emo­tional but he’s ba­si­cally a very good young man who does a lot of good things off the field. But he plays the game with a lot of pas­sion and some­times he goes a lit­tle too far,” Mara told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

“But that’s true with a lot of play­ers,” Mara added. “Un­for­tu­nately for him it seems like every­body’s fo­cused on him right now.”

Beck­ham’s an­tics were on full dis­play in New York’s 24-10 loss to the Min­nesota Vik­ings on Mon­day night.

While Beck­ham is one of the NFL’s most ta­lented re­ceivers, he’s been mak­ing more head­lines lately for tantrums, out­bursts and penalty flags.

Mara is head­lin­ing a panel Fri­day on “big sports, big busi­ness.” He’s al­ready been in­volved in dis­cus­sions on sports val­ues and main­tain­ing re­spect on the play­ing field — is­sues he plans to bring back to New York and to the Gi­ants.

“You’re al­ways go­ing to have in­ci­dents on the field be­cause it’s an emo­tional game and peo­ple play with a lot of pas­sion, and I think we have an obli­ga­tion to try to min­i­mize that as much as pos­si­ble and try to talk to peo­ple to get them to un­der­stand that there’s a cer­tain way which you should act on the field,” said the 61-year-old Mara, whose grand­fa­ther, Tim, founded the Gi­ants in 1925.

“We were talk­ing about re­spect and treat­ing your op­po­nents with re­spect, and you don’t al­ways see that in pro­fes­sional sports,” Mara added. “So that is one of the mes­sages of this con­fer­ence.”

On the sub­ject of faith, Mara men­tioned how Gi­ants play­ers kneel to­gether in prayer in­side the locker room af­ter each game.

“No­body is forced to do it and it’s been done for years and years and I’m not even sure how it got started, but it’s just some­thing that they do nat­u­rally,” he said.

“Of course a lot of times be­fore that or just af­ter that there’s all sorts of lan­guage used de­pend­ing on the out­come of the game, which maybe doesn’t quite fit. But there is al­ways that mo­ment where they do kneel and say a prayer and I think that’s a good thing.”

Mara also said he is work­ing on bring­ing an­other Su­per Bowl to MetLife Sta­dium af­ter a suc­cess­ful 2014 edi­tion, which marked the first time the game was played in the New York City area and the first time a cold-weather city was host for an out­door Su­per Bowl.

“We’ve looked at the pos­si­bil­ity of ‘22, ‘23, in that area. We’ll be sit­ting down with the Jets in the near fu­ture to talk about re-en­er­giz­ing to plan that,” Mara said. “We think it was very suc­cess­ful two years ago and there’s no rea­son why it couldn’t be that suc­cess­ful again.

“I don’t know that we would get the same weather — we got pretty lucky with that — but we were pre­pared for ev­ery­thing and it ended up be­ing great weather.”

JIM MONE — AP FILE

Gi­ants wide re­ceiver Odell Beck­ham stretches be­fore game against Vik­ings.

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