- Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP
New York Giants quarterback and father of three Eli Manning provided some humor Tuesday around the controversy involving the jaunt to Miami by the team’s wide receivers.
“As a team we kind of always pride ourselves on being well prepared, so when I saw some of those pictures, I was a little disappointed because obviously they didn’t pack accordingly,” Manning said dryly at his press conference. “They didn’t have any shirts, all long pants, no shorts, no flip-flops or anything. So I was disappointed in their packing and not being prepared for that situation.”
After the Giants beat the Redskins in Week 17 to finish 11-5 on the season and lock up the No. 5 seed in the NFC, Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard, and Roger Lewis took a private jet to South Beach to party with Justin Bieber, Lil Wayne, and other celebrities. The wideouts were seen partying, shirtless, at the nightclub Liv and were then photographed the next day, still shirtless, aboard a moderate-size boat.
Manning, who has previously made news of his own for beach fashion, took issue with his receivers’ preparedness for the warm weather:
— Justin Witmondt (@JustinWitmondt) January 2, 2017
Though head coach Ben McAdoo said he had no problem with the trip, the story nevertheless became fodder for New York tabloids and various debate-oriented sports talk shows.
Yet Manning continued to quip about the trip, providing some more wonderful dad-like humor.
“I was telling people I’m the one who took the picture,” he said. “They just wouldn’t let me in with my shirt off.”
He continued: “If guys want to get away for the day, I think they were a little low on the vitamin D and wanted to get some sunshine, get their vitamin D up to stay healthy for the cold weather in Green Bay.”
Beckham had this to say about the trip (according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson):
“We were going to [Florida] to get our minds right. That’s what we were doing. I handle my business. I’m a grown man. I do what I am supposed to be doing. I’m in the building when I’m supposed to be in the building. I don’t miss team meetings, none of that.
“I’m not perfect, but everybody knows my passion for football, when I’m on the football field. I’m here for the N.Y. Giants, especially over the next four weeks. Now, we are about to make a run, about to make a push; it’s go time. Everybody is focusing on what they need to be focusing on.”
Manning, in a more serious tone, said he was not worried about his wide receivers’ commitment.
“Those guys come out to practice and are prepared for everything that we do,” he said. “So nothing has changed.”
The Giants head to Lambeau Field on Sunday to play the Packers in the NFC wild-card round.