clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ndamukong Suh And Roger Goodell's Symphony Of Destruction

New, 1 comment

Roger Goodell suspended Ndamukong Suh for his idiotic mistake during the Thanksgiving Day game. It didn't need to be that way, though.

Getty Images

En route to Ford Field on Thanksgiving, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz tweeted that he was listening to Megadeth's 'Peace Sells' -- the title track of the album that catapulted the thrash metal band into the mainstream, garnering them worldwide attention. Dave Mustaine supposedly wrote the song to dispel the negative stereotypes that surrounded the band. 

I know it was Schwartz's pre-game music choice, but I couldn't help but picture Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh muttering under his breath, "What do you mean I ain't kind? Just not your kind," during his post-game press conference after being ejected for stomping on Evan Dietrich-Smith's right arm. 

'Dirty' is the stereotype Suh has been trying to shake since he viciously brought down Jake Delhomme by his head in a preseason game last year. A handful of dubious personal fouls and $42,500 in fines later, Suh didn't have a fighting chance against his critics. 

Stomping Dietrich-Smith after a play (after stuffing Dietrich-Smith's head into the turf like Harry burying Mary in the snow) certainly didn't help Suh's defense.  But the stomp was unlike anything we've ever seen from Suh before. Yes, he has had a handful of personal foul penalties stemming from ferocious play between the whistles (like that's a bad thing in professional tackle football), but he's never lost control like he did on Thanksgiving.

It didn't help that it was on national television and he was already convicted by the media as a dirty player. Naturally, everyone got all dramatic about it. So dramatic that Suh is being made out to be such an unstoppable force that, if he's not issued a big suspension, he might eventually KILL somebody: 

That verdict is in.

Suh is too dirty for the NFL. He's not merely big and powerful, though he is both of those things. He's also mean, bordering on cruel. He's the worst kind of big, strong guy -- he's a big, strong bully. Much is expected of a guy given that kind of size and strength -- much self-control, much humanity -- but Suh shows neither on the field. [...]

What kind of liberties will Suh take on opposing players after he's been named to four or five Pro Bowls in a row, after he's won an AP Defensive Player of the Year award (or two or three)?

He might just kill someone.

Look, maybe that's hyperbole. But maybe it's not.

No, he had it right the first time -- that is unadulterated hyperbole. And it's the dumbest thing I've ever read from the usually insightful Gregg Doyel, who is straight up hijacking the "Suh must be punished" bandwagon and carelessly stepping on the gas like he's playing GTA. We're not talking about a dog killer or Alex Karras here, Greggory. 

The 24-year-old Suh committed a misdemeanor on the gridiron and in turn cost his team a game; he ill-advisedly tried to save already publicly blemished face by denying it immediately after the game when emotions were still running high; and he embarrassed himself, the team, and fans on Thanksgiving. It's not completely unreasonable to conclude that Suh has suffered enough as it is. 

To be clear, I fully expect Suh to be suspended (UPDATE: he got two games) ... but that doesn't mean he should be suspended (and I'm not just saying that as a Lions fan who knows how important Suh is to the defense). 

It's unfortunate the scrutinized Suh went all Hulk in front of a national audience that was salivating for some turkey and Suh's next 'dirty' act because I think that alone added the most flammable of variables to the fire. The public outrage was so overbearing that many believe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has to drop the ban hammer (and it's being reported two games will be the punishment; UPDATE: it was). 

The problem with Goodell succumbing to media/public opinion is obvious, though, and it would only further disgrace Goodell's bizarre discipline structure. If Goodell had any balls, he'd formulate some standards he could consistently adhere to in situations like this rather than deferring to what's trending on Twitter.

But Goodell has already given his opinion on how inconsequential balls are when he merely fined Brian Robison $20,000 after Robison kicked a Packers player in the groin. That overruled any precedence Goodell may have set when he suspended Albert Haynesworth five games for stepping on an opposing player's head, as I'd think kicking a man in the family jewels is far worse than barely striking a man's right arm.

Goodell won't see it that way, though, and he'll happily sweep some no-named player's transgression under the rug while acting like a tough guy on the brand named Suh because that's what the majority wants him to do. Nevermind Suh's voluntary meeting with Goodell or the genuine apologies after his initial denial, the masses want to see Goodell back up all his talk about cutting down on violence, and they want to see it happen when it might mean sidelining a game-changing talent like Suh.

So when Goodell suspends Suh on Tuesday, the people will celebrate Goodell for a job well done. A job that had to be done for posterity. Goodell will reluctantly think he did the right thing by prohibiting a purported maniac from taking the field and restoring the peace he can't sell. Now, who's buying that Goodell is the rat in this scenario?