Now that he's a member of Washington's NFL team, cornerback Josh Norman will get to line up against New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. twice each season and the meetings will have a lot to do with sliced lunch meat.
"Odell and I, we know the truth. Anybody who makes it to this level knows it. The truth is that on the football field, he’s trying to steal my bologna, and I’m trying to steal his," Norman wrote in a first-person account on the Players' Tribune.
Norman was discussing trash talk and the bologna reference was to when he was a kid and his brothers would steal his bologna and he was too small and skinny to fight back. Norman said he has learned to never back down and calls himself a "savage" on the field. Last December, the matchup between Norman (then with the Carolina Panthers) and Beckham grew so heated with trash talk that Beckham wound up being suspended a game after several alteracations.
Afterward, Norman was accused of using gay slurs against Beckham. Without any video or audio, nothing ever came of the accusations and Norman denied using any gay slurs when I asked him at the Super Bowl. "Oh, wow. I don't know anything about that situation. I didn't say nothing or make any kind of slurs," Norman said.
Norman said at the Super Bowl that when it comes to trash talk, "everything is legal within the confines of the rules. It's mental warfare out there." He reiterated this in his Players Tribune article.
"Does it offend you? Does it ruin your experience? What do you think you’re watching? You’re watching raw, uncut aggression. You’re watching 22 guys trying to obliterate one another.
"When Odell and I went at one another last year, people got mad. Imagine that. People who watch this sport every Sunday and say they love it actually pretended to be offended. They don’t see the beauty in it. They don’t see the truth.
"The guy lining up across from me, he knows the truth. There are a lot of people who watch this game, or who are paid to commentate on it, who might not understand the true reality. They might get offended. They might think we’re animals."
I get trash talk and have no problem with it. But Norman's "anything goes" philosophy allows for the uses of all sorts of slurs in addition to more creative trash talk. While Norman denies calling Beckham a "faggot," for example, he did call him a "bitch" and a "ballerina," clear attempts to feminize him and showing a mindset he was in.
Beckham said he is called gay slurs all the time on the field, so that meme is out there. I hope Norman doesn't go there when the two play this season and instead sticks to bologna.