Ndamukong Suh is not a dumb jock by any stretch of the imagination. The 6-4, 307 lb defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions is intelligent, articulate and likeable.
That’s off the field. On the field, he’s a suitable candidate for anger management class as he rages and terrorizes NFL offensives with his combination of power, strength and ferocity. Suh was also named “the dirtiest player in the NFL” in a survey of players. Thanksgiving day, he lived up to the title when he first tried to push Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith’s helmet into the Ford Field turf and then stomped on his head in a rage.
Even by pro football standards that act crossed the line from Suh being a mean guy into a crazy guy. The NFL keeps getting increasingly wimpy as time goes by, but there’s still a place for mean guys. Crazy guys are scary and no fun to be around because you don’t know who they are going to get crazy on next.
After the game Suh issued an “apology” that went over like soggy dressing and cold turkey.
“I apologize to my teammates and my fans and my coaches for putting myself in a position to be misinterpreted and taken out of the game,” Suh snarled.
No good, playa. That reaction was entirely self-serving and totally untethered to the reality an audience in the millions watching on national TV saw with their own eyes. Try again.
“My reaction on Thursday was unacceptable,” the star defensive tackle said in a statement on his Facebook page Friday night. “I made a mistake, and have learned from it. I hope to direct the focus back to the task at hand—by winning.”
That’s a little better, but still not close to being good enough. Suh failed to apologize to Dietrich-Smith or anyone else.
Suh is one of the strongest players in the NFL and when his head is out of his ass and back on his broad shoulders, he’s possibly the best defensive tackle in the league.
But he is a dirty player. He can’t help it that he was born too late to play when pro football was rougher and tougher than it is in Roger Goodell’s No Fun League.
In two seasons Suh has been fined nearly $50,000 (chicken feed) for hits and unsportsmanlike conduct on the field. At his own request he met this month with Goodell to discuss how he could play within the rules and not get fined. Obviously, whatever Goodell told Suh went right in one ear and out the other.
NBC football analyst, Rodney Harrison, who also was tagged with the “dirty player” rep says Suh should be fined heavily and suspended for two games.
“It’s up to the commissioner to step in and make an example out of this young man,” Harrison said,” “He’s got a $50 million contract, multiple commercial sponsorships, what’s $40,000, $50,000? Heck, I didn’t even make that type of money when I played and 10- or $15,000 didn’t bother me.
“Imagine the type of money he’s making, but the way to get his attention is you suspend him, you sit him on his butt for two games and I guarantee when he comes back he’ll be a different player.”
In the same game Suh’s teammate, Kyle Vanden Bosch sacked Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. The hit was hard, but Vanden Bosch didn’t lead with his helmet or drive Rodgers into the turf. He still got flagged for unnecessary roughness.
Later Rodgers was knocked down after releasing the ball and immediately looked up at the referee with a look that said, “where’s the flag?” That’s what’s happening in the NFL now where superstar quarterbacks are pampered and protected. The elite of the league, Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, receive special protection from the refs and woe any defensive player that so much on breathes on them let alone brushing them lightly without making sure there’s some fluffed up pillows under them to break their fall.
Nobody knows how to tackle any more in the neutered NFL, but everybody knows you can’t tap dance on a dude’s dome like you’re trying to kill a cockroach. So bye-bye, Ndamukong, because you’re about to be sent to the Time Out corner.
Suh will eventually be the best defensive player in the NFL. First thing though he’s got to learn to get his temper in check and respect of the lame new world of the NFL and it’s one step removed from flag football rules.
One comment on the return of the NBA. My FB friend Jemele Hill is asking now that the NBA lock-out is over who will be the league MVP and champions? My answer is the MVP is Michael Jordan and the champions are The Owners. They slam-dunked the Players and the comedy team of Hunter and Fisher. His Airness and Unfairness should be measured and fitted for a seventh ring.
The NBA may be back but they can’t make me care.