For nine years, former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was the party boy of the NFL. He danced on stages after Super Bowls, hosted a party cruise in his name, and brought a raucous energy to championship parades.
But in the eyes of Odell Beckham Jr., the Cleveland Browns receiver gets ridiculed for the same actions Gronk got lionized for. When asked whether he's done anything more inappropriate than the retired Patriots tight end, Beckham Jr. told GQ, "Probably not."
"It's the same thing. It's like, Why can't I have fun? People tell me I'm supposed to be a role model. Well, what are they supposed to be? We're human beings at the end of the day. We earned the right to play in the NFL, but we also earned a life of our own. "I just had a talk with my uncle, and he agreed that my privacy is about the only thing I need back."* You never hear about my personal life. You never hear about the woman I'm dating or anything like that. And you won't. I don't need to give you that. You want to talk about my job, football? We can talk about that. But this is my personal life. There's two separate lines. So I always try to keep that."
Beckham Jr.'s most high-profile moment in the spotlight came before the 2017 playoffs, when he and several New York Giants teammates made a pit stop in Miami to party on a boat. Their poor performance in a first round loss to the Green Bay Packers put Beckham Jr.'s off-field decision-making in question. It's important to note that Gronkowski typically saved his partying for offseasons.
"I watch other players in the NFL be able to go to Vegas and get wild and go onstage and be videotaped and chugging beer or whatever," Beckham Jr. added. "Going crazy. And it's like, 'Oh, man, look at how much fun he's having. Look at how he's having a blast! This is amazing.'"
Elsehwere in the wide-ranging GQ interview, Beckham said his sideline outbreaks are no different than Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's, but a racial double standard puts Brady on a pedestal and taints Beckham's reputation. It's quite possible Beckham Jr. believes that double standard can also be applied to his off-field habits, especially when compared to Gronkowski.
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Odell Beckham Jr. questions how media treats him compared to Gronk originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston