Odell Beckham Jr’s rise to NFL stardom has become one of social media’s most discussed topics–including his personal life and sexual preference.
Unquestionably, Beckham has become a lightning rod for many.
He puts on a spectacular show with his one-handed catches. But he also celebrates touchdowns like he’s performing at the BET Awards.
Every score is a ‘show-off’ moment which leads to a perception that Bekham Jr. is cocky, among many others.
In December, Beckham Jr. faced a 1 day suspension after a fistfight with Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman erupted during a game. There is speculation the fight stemmed from ongoing gay slurs being leveled at Beckham Jr, before and during games.
An accusation that is denied by the Panthers organization.
In fact, gay rumors persist to surround Beckham Jr as his fame continues to grow.
Michael Irvin, the Cowboys Hall of Fame receiver, spoke to the media last year in response to the alleged gay taunting.
Irvin said Beckham told him the Panthers were trash-talking at him with gay slurs and before the game taunted him with a baseball bat.
“He deals with it a lot. For some reason, everybody goes after him with gay slurs. He’s a different kind of dude. He has the hairdo out, he’s not the big muscular kind of dude. The ladies all love him. He’s a star. I wonder why people are going in that direction. It blows my mind. I told him he can’t let stuff that people say get to you,” Irvin said.
In all fairness to Beckham Jr. it is unclear if he’s ever been intimate with other men. It is also unclear how it’s anyone’s business who he’s dated or slept with.
He is entitled to present himself in whatever context makes him most comfortable, regardless if it makes his peers or sports fans uncomfortable.
However, it doesn’t mean some folks observing his presence off the field– most significantly on social media, don’t have a right to speculate on it either.
Beckham is a not a regular football player.
He is fast becoming a celebrity/sex symbol who can be seen sitting next to Vogue editor Anna Wintour at the lastest fashion show or hanging out with A-List celebs such as Drake and Serena Williams.
The following pics have all been linked to stories making an accusation or questioning Beckham Jr.s sexuality…
I didn’t even bother to include various clips of Beckham Jr’s heavily mocked ‘feminine’ dancing or horseplay among male friends.
As a sports fan (football, in particular) I don’t care nor believe Beckham Jr is gay. Even if he isn’t gay, I believe he can use the opportunity to become an advocate for more tolerance in football. He could say “Hey, I’m not gay but there is nothing wrong about being gay” But, of course, it goes beyond his sexuality and speaks more to our society’s preconceived notions of masculinity (African American masculinity, in particular) and blatant homophobia still exists in football.
Perhaps the bigger question is what actually defines masculinity or heterosexuality in sports today?
Is he being unfairly targeted by fans or has Beckham Jr. helped perpetuate the gay rumors surrounding him on and off the field?
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