WASHINGTON — Redskins corner Josh Norman is exhausted from talking about Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. He would probably much rather talk about his horses, or any other football related topic. And what he really wants to talk about is boating.
You see, Norman scheduled a media tour this week to help promote DiscoverBoating.com, his latest venture, a fairly common swap for media and professional athletes to make. The host gets the name recognition of the player to promote as an upcoming guest, can ask about x, y and z, and in return the player works in a few plugs for the product he/she is promoting.
The problem, for Norman, is just as he was about to embark on this tour, Beckham — with whom he sparked an intense football rivalry as a member of the Carolina Panthers last season — dropped this bomb about Norman in GQ Magazine:
“If I wasn’t playing him twice a year, maybe people wouldn’t bring it up as much. But now it’ll be a lot more media attention for him, attention that I don’t really look for, attention that I don’t need. The reason that he’s become so relevant is because of me.”
The onslaught of Beckham questions began for Norman Thursday afternoon, when, during a Facebook Live chat with Business Insider, Norman’s interviewer appeared to be reluctantly leading into a question about Beckham’s remarks.
“You know I have to ask about it,” the interviewer confirmed.
“I don’t even know how you respond to that other than laugh,” Norman said, a simple response which generated headlines here and about a thousand other places. “I don’t know what you get out of that. But, I mean, I don’t know man. There’s a time when people who honor themselves will fall short, so when that day comes, we’ll just see.”
Friday morning, Norman called into The Dan Patrick Show, a radio program/TV show with a national audience dying to hear Norman respond to Beckham taking credit for his celebrity in GQ. Some had probably already ingested Norman’s Business Insider remarks, too.
“I saw Odell Beckham, Jr. again coming up,” Patrick said after focusing a healthy 50 seconds on DiscoverBoating.com. “You’re in conversation with Odell, I guess GQ. He said he made you relevant there. That’s pretty nice of him, right?”
“Man. It’s very nice of him,” Norman said, as if pleading for Patrick not to follow up. “I appreciate the compliment.”
“Have you run into him off the field?” Patrick followed up.
“No, I haven’t,” Norman said. “Don’t plan on it.”
“Well, you’re in New York City,” Patrick said. “What happens if you ran into Odell Beckham? How would it go?”
“I don’t know, man,” Norman said. “I guess you guys just have to be here to catch it. I mean, I don’t know what to say about it.”
Patrick, sensing Norman’s disinterest, extended an olive branch: “Are you tired of the topic?”
“Really, I am, man. Everywhere you go, you hear about it,” Norman unloaded. “It’s unreal. I’m sure he hears about it, too, man. It’s one way that way, and it’s one way this way. It’s always something.
“I mean you go out here in New York, [unintelligible], they hear about it. You got [unintelligible] about it. I mean, it’s unreal. It’s really a nonstop epidemic that took place and it’s now like a giant that’s casting a shadow wherever we walk, it’s that conversation that we had. So it’s like, dang, man. I just want to play ball, yo, like, see us on the field. Outside it’s something so much bigger.”
“Well, now you face him twice during the regular season,” Patrick noted, “so that’s why it’s ramped up even more.”
“I know. It’s just taken on a whole new face, I’m telling you,” Norman said. “I mean, for me, I know where I am in my stature: First Team All-Pro; Pro Bowler, first ballot; I went to the Super Bowl. I have the confidence under my belt to say what I’ve done. I don’t have to go back and forth about it.
“Like, what for? It’s no need. I have a contract that speaks for itself, I’m on a fresh team that’s trying to get to the Super Bowl. That’s our main focus. That’s our goal. Nothing more, nothing less. Fall short of that, come back next year and try it again. That’s just what we do. I don’t look at, you know, picking sides and asking people for what? It’s not gonna make me any better.”
Norman had made his fatigue from the topic evident to Patrick early on, and they ended up bonding over the endless swirl of the media cycle, but Norman had yet another stop — and who knows how many others? — on his tour to go. Next up: ESPN.
Wendi Nix came right out with it, asking for Norman’s opinion on Beckham’s remarks.
“I really don’t have one, Wendi,” Norman said on ESPN’s NFL Live. “I’m being honest with you. I don’t. It’s like beating a dead horse right now, it really is. I’ve been asked about it all day.”
“It’s crazy, because I’m out here doing Discover Boating, and I’ve been doing this all day, and been pitching them. I’m on a boat trip with them doing some stuff and being active in that, and I’ve been going set to set and we’ve been talking about that. And the crazy thing is, you know, it came out I think like yesterday, like two days ago, and I heard it, and here I am doing all these shows and shoots.
“And I wouldn’t be if I wouldn’t be Discovering Boating, so it’s kind of crazy that I’m in the midst of all that. It is what it is, like I said. We’re beating a dead horse talking about it, and at the end of the day, if that’s how he feels, so be it, but my numbers speaks for themselves and what I do on the field, it does, so I really can care less.”
Nix, ever vigilant, refused to settle for Norman’s poorly-timed-media-tour sob story; she had a job to do, after all.
“All right, Josh. You know what? Since we’re talking boating, let’s put it in a boating context,” she said. “Would you want to go fishing with Odell Beckham, Jr.?”
“Oh my gosh!” Norman exclaimed, seemingly in disbelief of Nix’s creativity in pursuit of a substantive answer.
“It’s a fair question,” Nix pressed onward.
“Like fishing and a couple brewskies?” Norman asked rhetorically, still laughing all the while. “And I don’t even drink.”
(You’re probably beginning to picture how easily an interview can go off the rails.)
“But hey, nah, man. Like I said, I think enough has been said on the issue. He said what he had to say. I don’t know what else I say to that,” Norman said, throwing his hands in the air in search of a new way to rephrase an answer he’s already been rephrasing all day.
“It is what it is. I’m with the Washington Redskins now. We face this guy, our team, twice a year now, along with Dez Bryant and a couple of other guys in our division, and it’s going to be great. I get that great work with DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Jamison Crowder and all those guys, and even Jordan Reed that give us that work. So we’ve got our hands full with our team and we try to do our best to manage those guys, not hear about what goes on outside our playing field.”
Luckily, for Norman’s sake, the Redskins and Giants only play twice a year.