- Despite having offensive firepower in one-handed catching sensation Odell Beckham Jr. and rookie running back Saquon Barkley, the New York Giants sit at the bottom of the NFC East standings after winning just one of their first six games for the second straight season.
- Much to the chagrin of Giants owner John Mara, Beckham Jr. has been outspoken about his dissatisfaction with the team’s early-season performances.
- In an interview with Business Insider, Barkley revealed why he has chosen to keep his opinions under wraps through the media firestorm surrounding the franchise.
While veteran quarterback Eli Manning plays defence against accusations that his time under center has come to an end and star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. questions his team’s heart in sit-down interviews with ESPN, New York Giants rookie phenom Saquon Barkley is content keeping his thoughts to himself.
It’s not that the Giants’ first-round draft pick has no opinions about the state of his 1-5 team and the chaos surrounding the New York franchise. He just knows better than to voice them publicly.
“The way that I approach it is what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room and what we talk about with the team stays with the team,” Barkley said in an interview with Business Insider. “That’s for us.”
Business Insider spoke with Barkley after he surprised high schoolers at the launch of the latest version of Visa’s Financial Football – a game geared at teaching young people about personal finance and money management. A product of Penn State, Barkley imparted wisdom to the students – some of whom were just three years his younger – about the importance of handling money responsibly and with caution. His approach to finances closely resembles the one he takes with the media.
“I just try to play it smart,” Barkley said. “There can be a lot of things that you can say, and people could twist your words. Obviously, I have to [speak to the] media and have to do interviews because I’m playing in New York in the most marketable place in the country, but I just continue to be aware and try to say the right things and be smart.”
Barkley has been anything but quiet on the gridiron. Just six games into his young career, the 6-foot, 233-pound running back has accrued 438 rushing yards and 373 receiving yards for six touchdowns. Even in the Giants torturous 34-13 Week 6 loss to division rival Philadelphia Eagles last week, Barkley racked up 229 yards on 13 runs, including this one for a touchdown:
.@Saquon cannot be stopped!
— NFL (@NFL) October 12, 2018
There is little doubt that Barkley has proven himself to be one of the best backs in the league, but strong individual performances matter very little to the rookie when the outcomes are not in his team’s favour.”
“It sucks,” Barkley told Business Insider. “It sucks being 1-5… We’ve been in some close games, and we just need to find a way to win. Obviously, I was so accustomed to winning in college, but the culture we have in our locker room here is still a winning culture… the way that we’re treating the locker room and the way that we come to work is still a winning culture.”
New York will take on the Atlanta Falcons Monday night, but the team has a less than 1% chance of making the playoffs. Still, Barkley has found a way to be optimistic:
“No one on the team can say that we’re happy where we’re at, but we’re aware that it’s a long season,” Barkley said. “We have to continue to grind and continue to believe in each other. You never know. We still have ten more games. Teams get streaky, and we could be one of those teams.”
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