NY Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr., left, was suspended for one game by the NFL on Monday for helmet-butting Carolina Panthers player Josh Norman, right, and committing other violations during Sunday's game.
According to NFL insiders, Beckham felt threatened by Panthers players during pregame warmups on the sideline. Panthers players carried wood baseball bats and supposedly motioned the bats toward Beckham. The Giants claim other Panthers players yelled threats and homophobic slurs at the star player.
The taunts were enough to rattle Beckham's cage. He dropped a catch during the game that he normally would've made easily.
The Panthers organization denied reports that players made threats or yelled homophobic slurs at Beckham, who is rumored to be homosexual.
Sources say the Panthers always carry baseball bats on the sideline; it's a tradition. Something about "bringing the wood" and using the bats as motivational tools.
The Panthers tradition apparently started with Panthers cornerback Bené Benwikere who is out with an injury. Benwikere tweeted that his teammates were simply continuing the tradition.
"Come on now my boys carry the bat with them as it symbolizes my presence still being with them at the game and the NFL has a problem???" Benwikere tweeted on Monday.
Other teams have also carried bats during games. A Twitter.com user tweeted this photo as proof on Monday:
— Matt (@mbyrne24) December 21, 2015
But, after reviewing the film of pre game warmups, the Giants insist Beckham was threatened and intimidated on the sideline.
"Giants reviewed pregame incidents b/n Panthers players and Beckham. Are convinced he was threatened physically and called homophobic slurs," tweeted sports journalist Jason La Canfora.
The Panthers defeated the Giants 38-30 to remain undefeated.
Photo: Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/WENN.com