Odell Beckham doesn't like losing, and he really doesn't like being held to a career low in yardage.
"Football is my sanctuary," Beckham said on Tuesday, per ESPN. "It's where I go to escape. It's where I'm most happy. I'm not having fun anymore."
This revelation comes after Rhodes' aggressive coverage and an iffy late hit drove Beckham to commit an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty early in the game and then lower his shoulder on the Vikings cornerback out of bounds on a later play.
The outbursts were in line with Beckham's attitude through the first quarter of the year, which has featured erratic sideline behavior during his rematch with Josh Norman and a failed attempt to destroy a kicking net.
Those actions have not gone without reprimanding. He was fined $36,000 for a crackback block on Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro two weeks ago, his sixth fine in two-plus seasons. Giants coach Ben McAdoo said after last week's loss to the Redskins that the wideout "needs to control his emotions better and be less of a distraction to himself and his teammates." Even his quarterback, Eli Manning, said of Beckham's antics during Monday's loss, "He brought that on himself."
But Beckham's reputation as a hot-head diva has also made him a target for strong-willed cornerbacks who know what buttons to push. Corners like Norman and Rhodes see their aggressive play as gamesmanship, but Beckham considers their tactics a personal affront.
"You have to protect yourself at all times," Beckham told reporters after the loss. "I just gotta know where I'm at. I just gotta know that it's all against me.
"I have to assume that I'm always in the wrong no matter what. That's something that's a tough pill to swallow. You have to understand it, you have to be able to cope with it and just keep it moving."
In the grand scheme of things, the world isn't against Beckham; he's a popular, attractive football player in a major media market with endorsement deals, Madden covers and adoring fans. But when he steps on the field, Beckham completely loses that perspective and instead adopts an "us against the world" mentality that makes the game of football into something more than what it is: a game.
The "fun" of football lies in the in-game competition, not the post-game accolades. Once Beckham learns to love, not loathe, his weekly battles with testy corners, then maybe he'll regain that fun-loving spirit he exhibited during his breakout rookie season and much of 2015. Until then, Beckham will continue to line up outside the numbers with a defender in his face and a target on his back.