This wasn't the first time Odell Beckham Jr. criticized the Giants or their general manager, and it surely won't be the last. By now, everyone knows how he feels. He's made it clear. He "wasn't happy" with the Giants, felt "disrespected," and had already decided, "I just can't do this anymore."
He also just couldn't believe how the Giants treated someone as important as him.
It's old news by now, really. But every time he speaks, every time he says publicly how miserable life with the Giants was, and how he was misused, it's easy to picture Dave Gettleman leaning back in his chair, putting his feet up on his desk, and smiling a knowing smile.
Because surely as he reads the latest issue of GQ magazine, he has to be thinking to himself, "I was right."
Criticize the Beckham trade all you want -- and there certainly is plenty to criticize -- but the more Beckham talks, the more impossible it becomes to doubt Gettleman's motives for dumping one of the best receivers in the NFL. He had an unhappy player on his team. He had a player who was a walking distraction, who clearly believed he was simply better than everyone else.
Sure, maybe he was. But the Giants were still only 31-49 in his tenure. Four out of his five years, they lost at least 10 games. And the more he talked, publicly and privately -- specifically about quarterback Eli Manning -- the more Gettleman saw Beckham didn't fit into the "culture" he was trying to build.
Surely everyone can see that now, right?
Beckham's latest interview clearly shows there is merit to Gettleman's thinking, whether you agree with the trade or not, whether you loved Beckham or not. It's impossible to read Beckham's straight-from-the-heart quotes and picture a player who was all about "team" and not just about himself.
He said he "felt disrespected" when the Giants traded him "after everything I've done for them." No mention of how he helped them to one miserable playoff game in five years, or that in return for whatever it is he did for the Giants, he got a five-year, $90 million contract with a $20 million signing bonus and $65 million guaranteed.
As for that miserable playoff game in 2016, he did admit that he "had a terrible game" in that 38-13 loss in Green Bay. But even that came with some blame in another direction.
"I left the game with seven targets, and I'm supposed to be your number one receiver," he said. "I left the game with seven targets. We lost."
Oh, and by the way, that's not even accurate. He was targeted a team-high 11 times that day. He caught four passes for 28 yards. So the "seven" is the number of passes in his direction that he didn't catch. He had at least four drops, including one that killed the first drive and one that would've been a touchdown on the second drive.
So throwing the ball even more to him after that should've been the plan?
He also took on head coach Pat Shurmur in the article, and called him "the reason I'm gone." Never mind that Shurmur went out of his way -- including a visit to Beckham's offseason, away-from-the-team home in California -- to embrace and coddle Beckham when he was hired last season.
Shurmur's support was probably the biggest reason Gettleman didn't dump Beckham then, as one of his first acts as new Giants general manager. And as a reward, Beckham continued to be a distraction for Shurmur, including making it publicly clear that he didn't have his quarterback's back.
This, though, was the best part of the GQ interview. It cut to the heart of Beckham's thinking, and why it was hard for the Giants to truly consider him a team player:
"I felt disrespected, because I felt like I was a main reason at keeping that brand alive," he said. "They were getting prime-time games, still, as a 5-11 team. Why? Because people want to see the show. You want to see me play. That's just real rap. I'm not sitting here like, 'It's because of me.' But let's just be real. That's why we're still getting prime-time games."
OK, he's not completely wrong. He's a star and TV wants to show stars. The Giants certainly aren't prime-time darlings coming off a 5-11 season and with Beckham gone. But I think the Giants' "brand" would've probably remained "alive" whether Beckham was there or not. After all, it's done pretty well since it was created in 1925.
Regardless, that's the kind of thing that really shouldn't be at the forefront of the mind of a team player -- that he's all that's "keeping that brand alive." And that's what the Giants knew. It's what Gettleman knew. Even if Beckham was right to feel like the rest of the Giants simply weren't worthy of his greatness, that's just not the type of attitude Gettleman wanted players to have in his locker room.
It's not the "culture" he wanted. He doesn't think that's how a team wins.
Maybe Gettleman was still wrong to trade him. Maybe he didn't get enough in return. Maybe he should've just taken a "grin and bear it" approach to Beckham because he's such a ridiculously talented player.
All that is fair to argue. But it seems inarguable now that Gettleman didn't at least have a point in thinking that Beckham and the Giants were a toxic mix. Because now even Beckham has said as much in the GQ article, when he said, "I had been praying to God the season before this season for a change."
"I can't do this anymore. I just can't do it," he said he was thinking. "I wasn't happy. I wasn't in a good place. … I feel like everything is about happiness, and I just was not."
Gettleman knew it. Let's face it, almost everyone knew it. And even those who were in denial have to know it now. It just wasn't going to work. New York wasn't Beckham's Happy Place anymore.