-- EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants continue to offer strong public support for star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. as the receiver appeals his one-game suspension for his actions during Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.
Instead of his usual detailed statistical summary of the upcoming opponent, Giants coach Tom Coughlin opened his Wednesday news conference with emotional and unsolicited defense of Beckham, who lost control and incurred three personal foul penalties for his angry on-field behavior against Carolina.
"To depict this as Odell Beckham being wrong, and the only one who's wrong, is not right, it's not fair, it's not justice and it's not the way it was," Coughlin said. "If you're naive enough to think that way, then you'd better do some soul-searching yourself.
"Beckham certainly was wrong, and we've said he was wrong from day one. But there were factors involved, starting in pregame, which are well documented, which indicate that there was an attempt to provoke him. He was provoked. He was out of control, he was wrong, there's no doubt about that. You'd like that it didn't happen. But the fact of the matter is, the situation in the pregame with the baseball bat, and if you know what occurred at the very beginning of the game, you can understand that there were two sides to this and not just one."
Beckham was suspended because the league deemed him to have committed multiple actions that put the health and safety of other players at risk during the game. His appeal was being heard Wednesday by James Thrash at the NFL offices in New York City.
Coughlin said the Giants had been in contact with the league office regarding the ways in which they believe Beckham was provoked.
The coach said he spoke with Beckham on Monday -- before the announcement of his suspension for Sunday's game against Minnesota -- and that Beckham "felt bad" about what he'd done in the game.
The Giants play the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday night. To reach the playoffs, they must win their final two games and Washington must lose its final two games. If Washington beats Philadelphia on Saturday night, Washington will be the NFC East champion and the Giants will be eliminated from playoff contention before they take the field Sunday in Minnesota.
"Obviously, you'd like to have that player with you," Coughlin said Wednesday of Beckham's availability against the Vikings. "But if in fact it doesn't happen, we have to think of our team as well."