Speaking with reporters last week, Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caused the most minor of stirs when he declared he didn’t like water because it made his stomach feel “slushy.” But he made this statement while holding and sometimes drinking from a bottle of water and, during Monday night’s game against the Falcons, he apparently had consumed some sort of liquid: In the fourth quarter, he briefly went back to the locker room to use the bathroom.

This did not sit well with Booger McFarland, ESPN’s cart-bound color analyst, who called Beckham a “diva” and then regaled a national television audience with a story about how he would — somehow — relieve himself on the sideline during his playing days.

“Back in my day, we would do that on the sideline. I didn’t need to go to the back for that,” McFarland said. “We just sat down on the bench, you do your business and move on, that’s what we did.”

Challenged with a “TMI” by Jason Witten, McFarland did not back down.

“These diva wide receivers want to go to the bathroom,” he said. “As a defensive lineman, we didn’t go to the bathroom. You sat on the bench, did your business and got up.”

There are all sorts of questions that arise from this statement, mainly: So you . . . soiled yourself while sitting on the bench during games, all in the name of manliness?

A search for answers led this reporter to a 2017 ESPN the Magazine story by David Fleming, who recounted the struggle faced by Panthers offensive tackle Jordan Gross during a 2013 game. Yes, going on the sideline apparently is a thing, but so is leaving the field to use the restroom:

Over the years, Gross had tried every technique NFL players and other hyper-hydrated athletes use to surreptitiously relieve themselves during games. He'd experimented with the time-honored slow release into his pants, but they were white, for starters, and it just left Gross feeling soggy and slow. He kind of enjoyed the "T-Pee curtain" method, going inside a hut of towels or parkas. But worrying that his teammates would prank him by walking away midflow occasionally gave Gross stage fright -- aka paruresis, or what urologists refer to as "ballpark bladder." His tight pants, no-fly spandex and all the tape on his gloved hands and mangled fingers made it cumbersome to kneel behind the bench and pee into a cup (a method that was so popular among his teammates that rookies often had a hard time differentiating which cups contained actual Gatorade).
And so, in one of the final home games of his career, during a TV timeout with the defense on the field, the three-time Pro Bowl blocker figured he had nothing to lose -- he would proudly march off the field toward a small bathroom used mostly by field staff, where for once he could pee in peace.
ESPN the Magazine

There were a couple of problems with Gross’s plan, however: The restroom floor was slippery, which hardly was ideal for a large individual wearing cleats. Plus, the heavily padded Gross bumped into a fan in a Panthers jersey who was next to him in the bathroom, leading to that most awkward of male interactions: the urinal small talk.

“Heck of a game,” Gross said to the fan, per Fleming.

“The guy is staring at me, and I’m fully aware of how weird this situation is, and now it’s all delaying the pee process,” says Gross, who, sources say, was in too much of a hurry to wash his hands. “Poor guy probably paid a fortune for a field pass because he wanted to know what it was like behind the scenes at a big-time sporting event. Well, now he knows.”

Fleming goes on to recount other tales of urinary struggle: how Angels pitcher Jered Weaver had to go so bad that he left the dugout for a bathroom break only three outs away from a no-hitter (he returned and finished the job); how Olympic swimming icon Michael Phelps admitted that he pees in the pool; how Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez stepped inside the Green Monster to go during a pitching change during a 2005 game at Fenway.

And about how former Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder wet his pants in every one of his 82 games as a pro.

From this, we can safely say that it was both okay for Beckham to briefly depart the field on Monday night but that it’s also not unheard-of for an NFL player to let fly without getting up, as McFarland boldly states. Everyone just has to look out for No. 1.

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