Panthers players were carrying baseball bats on the sidelines -- and it may have caused Odell Beckham to go ballistic during game

Odell Beckham Jr. is likely to be suspended for a nasty helmet-to-helmet hit on Josh Norman during the 3rd quarter of the Giants’ game against the Panthers on Sunday, and now numerous NFL Insiders are reporting that Beckham may have felt threatened by a curious Panthers’ pre-game ritual involving black baseball bats that he felt were being pointed threateningly at him from the sidelines.

From ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

In pregame warm-ups, at least one Panthers official, and possibly more, carried black baseball bats on to the field and were motioning with them towards Odell Beckham Jr. while making comments to him, per a league source. Norman later grabbed the black bat and was swinging it in pregame warmups — which, by the way, an NFL Films camera captured. Beckham, according to another source, felt threatened and it helped put him in a certain frame of mind. It does not excuse what he did during the course of the game, but it does explain what led up to the battle that still is the talk of the league today.

Here’s video of the Panthers on the sidelines from yesterday’s game, via Jay Glazer:

Beckham reportedly felt these bats were directed at him, which may be being used as an explanation for why he went ballistic during the game:

The Panthers, however, have repeatedly brought baseball bats out with them as a pre-game motivational tool, started by Bene Benwikere: 



And after Benwikere went down with an injury, other members of the team have continued to do it in order to honour him:

The Panthers aren’t the first team who have used a bat as a prop in the pre-game. In the Super Bowl, the Saints did the same thing:


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