Jobu weighs in on Ndamukong Suh’s dispicable stomping incident, his punishment from the league and the tackle’s state of mind.
It has become apparent that Ndamukong Suh has problems. Yesterday Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that Suh would be suspended for two games without pay for his Thanksgiving stomping of Packers Guard Evan Dietrich-Smith. If you haven’t heard, here’s what happened:
When the Packers and Lions play each other, we know it’s gonna get a little feisty. The teams are division rivals, and they don’t like each other. The Lions get especially fired up because they are trying to prove to the world that they don’t belong in the basement, and they wanted nothing more than to beat the undefeated Packers on their way up the stairs. In the third quarter of Thursday’s game between the two (a game the Packers won 27-15) Suh was involved in some after-the-play roughhousing with the aforementioned Guard. Suh appeared to first mush Dietrich-Smith’s head into the turf three times and hold it there for an extended amount of time. I’m sure pleasantries were exchanged between the two men, and then Suh finally stood up and kicked/stomped Dietrich-Smith’s arm before the Guard had a chance to get up. Nice, huh?
Suh was immediately ejected from the game. Afterwords he categorically denied stomping Dietrich-Smith and cried to reporters that his past reputation was making him a target for other teams, referees, the media and even the league itself. He came off as paranoid, unstable and dishonest. A million replays showed Suh mushing Dietrich-Smith and stomping on his arm (Look at the picture above! he’s looking down and stomping!). During the post-game press conference, Suh made it a point to apologize only to his own teammates, coaches and fans before questioning got underway. Suh’s defense was that Dietrich-Smith was pulling him down on the ground (tough to pull a 300 lb player onto yourself when your head is being mushed into the ground and you’re lying on your side). When reporters poked holes in his ridiculous claims that he was just adjusting his body weight to catch his balance, he got all agitated and still claimed he was trying to walk away. “How am I supposed to do anything else?” He asked.
To quote a line from My Cousin Vinny, “Everything that guy just said was bullshit… Thank you.” The next day, the Lions released an official statement admonishing Suh for his actions, and even many of his teammates (anonymously) said that a suspension was warranted considering his prior on-field incidents. Did I say prior on-field incidents? In his two seasons in the NFL, Suh has been fined five different times by the league for unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct. Five! These include trying to rip Jake Delhomme’s head off in a pre-season game and slamming him to the ground, shoving Jake Cutler from behind on two occasions last season and slamming Bengals QB Andy Dalton to the ground after he had already gotten rid of the ball.
So maybe the league is out to get Suh. If they are, it’s because he’s a frigging psycho! Either way, his suspension will cost him two games ($164,000), and he will be banned from practicing with the team or even stepping foot on any team facilities for the next two weeks. Some may say that, because of his previous infractions and apparent lack of mental stability and regard for the safety of others, two games won’t be enough. They point to Albert Haynesworth’s four game suspension for a similar incident in 2006. The big difference with that is that Haynesworth used his cleats to basically slice a guy’s forehead. He’s lucky he only got four games. Suh’s actions, while completely uncalled for, probably weren’t even the dirtiest plays of that game. The NFL is a game of dirty plays, many of which take place in pileups or other situations where the cameras can’t see them. Suh’s dirty deeds just happened to take place after the whistle, in the middle of the field, on probably the biggest regular season football stage of the year (Thanksgiving) and in front of a ton of cameras and tens of millions of fans.
Let’s keep in mind that Suh is not something we haven’t seen before. We should all remember guys like Carl Crawford, Milton Bradley and even Adam “Pacman” Jones; Professional athletes with immense talent who also possessed serious anger/sanity issues. That being said, I completely agree with the sentiment that something has to be done about Ndamukong Suh. Plays like this only hurt the league, and this is just the latest (and probably worst) in a long line of incidents in his young career. I don’t know the man personally. I can’t tell you if he has legitimate mental problems, nor can I tell you how to fix them. It’s sad because Suh is actually a model citizen off the field. He doesn’t get into nightclub fights, he has never shot anyone (or himself) and he gives a ton to his community (his $2.6MM donation to the University of Nebraska is the largest ever given by a professional athlete ever). His personality has also helped him make millions in endorsements from companies like Nike, Subway and Omaha Steaks. He’s not a bad guy until he steps onto that field. Hopefully the embarrassment and negative attention he is suffering because of his conduct and suspension, not to mention the fact that he may have just ruined Detroit’s playoff hopes by getting himself banned for two games, could be great building blocks for change. At some point, when you start costing your team games, fans (and even team officials and teammates) are going to take offense. In this case, I think the league has done exactly as it should have. If Suh can’t straighten himself out after this, then he might never be able to.
Here’s video of the incident… judge for yourselves:
Suh image courtesy of: http://articles.chicagotribune.com
Delhomme image courtesy of: KIRTHMON F. DOZIER/DFP
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