CHARLOTTE, NC – OCTOBER 07: Odell Beckham Jr #13 of the New York Giants reacts against the Carolina Panthers in the first half during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

In his first attempt at being a team leader, Odell Beckham Jr. felt it was time to vent his frustrations about the current state of the New York Giants. But like most public figures, Beckham Jr. chose television as the pulpit to share his displeasures with the start of the 2018 season.

In an interview with ESPN’s NFL Countdown, Beckham Jr. was critical of the offensive play-calling, the quarterback play and the lack of heart shown by his teammates. Plus, he wants more passing plays that challenge the defense by throwing deep over the top of the safeties. This was a classic example of a star athlete feeding his own diva personality by pointing the finger at everyone else but himself for the team’s slow start.

What Makes a Good Team Leader?

Good team leaders rarely create drama inside the locker room. Instead, their words should inject a shot of adrenaline that boosts the team’s confidence level and take them out of their doldrums to perform better in games.

It’s okay to voice your displeasure but do it in front of your teammates. Leadership is all about making eye contact and getting the attention of everyone inside the locker room. It’s telling them directly to get their act in gear because the current effort isn’t making the grade. Teammates want to be inspired rather than be scolded in a cute two-minute sound bite.

Is Beckham Jr. a Diva or Inexperienced Team Leader?

Beckham Jr. is a great player, but he is gaining a reputation of being a diva who is more concerned about his touches than wins and losses. Giants head coach Pat Shurmur wasn’t going to coddle his temperamental superstar after his recent outburst because that approach had gone on too long. Shurmur was putting this issue to rest immediately by speaking directly with Beckham Jr. and the team. He was not allowing this incident to linger inside the locker room, which could have hindered the Giants’ play on the field.

When asked if he regretted the incident, Beckham Jr. reiterated that he had no regrets with what was said in the interview because it had bothered him since the Week Two loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Beckham Jr. felt his actions had galvanized and not divided the team.

I get it, you’re 25 years old and invincible. Beckham Jr. is a young man who thinks the world revolves around him, especially after signing a five-year, $95 million contract extension in August. It’s called having an ego, but Beckham Jr. needs to learn that football is all about the team because one player rarely changes the outcome to a season.

Beckham Jr. Can Become the Leader of the Giants

It wasn’t a coincidence that the Giants recorded the franchise’s worst loss record (3-13) after Beckham Jr. went down with a broken ankle last season. His presence in the lineup makes the Giants a better team on paper. Now it’s his job to inspire his teammates to match those expectations with their play on the field.

If Beckham Jr. needs examples of good team leaders, then he needs to look no further than three New York legends, Mark Messier, Derek Jeter, and Aaron Judge. All of them are players that have risen to the occasion by playing their best in big games. Each imposed their greatness by disproving the theory of one player defines a team. It’s that inner confidence that inspires others into believing something good will happen regardless of the odds against them. Great leaders have that impeccable timing to guide their team through some adversity before the winning starts.

Beckham Jr.’s words created a media frenzy. Now, the message must be “follow my lead” because the Giants are only a game-and-a-half from the top spot in the NFC East. He has the skill level to dictate the outcome of games, and his teammates are smart enough to overlook his outbursts to come together as one.

It’s time for Beckham Jr. to lead the way with his play and not his mouth.

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