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Giants fans moaned the loss of Odell Beckham Jr. in recent years. They mentioned how much the Giants miss his personality and his explosive playmaking skills.
It took a while to replace him, but the Giants found their guy in Kadarius Toney, the Giants first- round draft pick after trading down from No. 11 to No. 20 in the 2021 NFL Draft after the Philadelphia Eagles beat them to the punch in drafting DeVonta Smith.
In Sunday’s Giants’ 44-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Toney not only caught 10 passes ( catches of 38, 28 and 35 yards on the Giants’ first three scoring drives) for 189 yards, but he punctuated his day by getting ejected after he threw a punch at Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee. He and Kazee got into a scuffle after the Giants rookie caught a 13-yard pass from Giants backup quarterback Mike Glennon (he entered into the game after Daniel Jones left the game with a concussion from a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jabril Cox while running a bootleg on third-and-goal).
Toney would have made Beckham so proud for the way he played and imploded.
It’s easy to blame Toney since he started this, but this ignores the real problem here. We should start asking why does a player playing for the Giants turn him into a fool? We saw the evidence with guys like Jeremy Shockey, Eli Apple and Beckham. Toney joined the long list of Giants that imploded when things go bad.
This is an organizational problem. This is a franchise that hires troubled players and can’t control them. Look, it’s not a crime to take chances on players that have baggage, but it’s a problem when a team does not provide a structure to make sure guys don’t behave out of control.
We raved about Joe Judge for allegedly being a disciplinarian. I don’t get it. All I see is the Giants committing stupid penalties game after game under him. Then, watching Toney make a fool of himself has me thinking this is an indictment of Judge that he can’t get his player under control.
There was no excuse for Toney to lose self-control whatsoever. He has to be the bigger guy here. Yes, the game was out of hand by the time it happened, but this makes it even worse that it would justify him to act like a child there. This was selfish on his part that he would focus on going after a Cowboy rather than stay in the game. There’s no denying it.
But this is also the Giants for letting this go out of control. It’s on them to make sure a player does not act like that. Winning organizations don’t let this happen. When a team has not won a playoff game since winning the Super Bowl, these things happen. This explains why the Giants are where they are right there.
In a game the Giants lost Saquon Barkley (ankle), Kenny Golladay (knee) and Jones to injuries, they didn’t need to see their prized rookie leave the game with unsportsmanlike conduct, even if the game was over by then.
It would have been nice to hear Toney give his side of the story, but he was being checked for X-rays when the game was over. That’s too bad because he should have told his side of the story. He owed the Giants fans to tell them that much.
My guess is even if he was not being checked out, the Giants would not make him available because they would have sheltered him from dealing with the media. They did not want to risk any embarrassment or problems for the wide receiver. They wouldn’t want him to be accountable, either.
This again goes back to the organization. By shielding players from the media, it means the Giants are enabling this behavior by not having the players address criticism from the press. This organization needs to stop protecting its players and making them look like a victim.
In a way, the Giants failed Beckham by not blaming him for his behavior. They should have been on him rather than worried about him losing interest and quitting on the team. They did him a disservice.
They can’t make the same mistake with Toney as they did with Beckham and Apple. Maybe a week’s suspension would do a lot good for the Giants rookie wide receiver. It would make him think. It would make him understand the consequences.
It would cost the Giants a chance to beat the Los Angeles Rams, but they weren’t likely going to beat them even with Toney. By suspending him, they would bring discipline and accountability that has been lacking for so long. He and the Giants would be better off in the long-term if he can learn from it by being suspended.
It’s time for the Giants to show they mean business.
The days of enabling players and shielding them should be over. Quite frankly, it should have been a long time ago.