In my lifetime I watched Don Drysdale intentionally throw at opposing batters when he was a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. I saw Bill Lambier of the Detroit Piston’s basketball team attempt to injure opposing players. I was dismayed as Conrad Dobler used every illegal move imaginable to harm his opponent as an offensive lineman for the St. Louis Cardinals. Ndamukong Suh is a defensive lineman for the Detroit Lions of the NFL. He may be the dirtiest player I have ever seen in professional sports.
In the final regular season game of 2014, Suh intentionally stomped on the ankle of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He was initially suspended for one game, eliminating him from participation in the following week’s wild card game against the Dallas Cowboys. He appealed and his suspension was overturned. He received a $70,000 fine, not equal to a single game’s paycheck. Once again the league got it wrong.
Roger Goodell’s dictatorial administration must be stopped. His priorities remain prejudicial in favor of the owners and deny the rights of all players in all situations. His position regarding decades of domestic violence and sexual assault by NFL players is unacceptable, and actions such as those repeatedly committed by players similar to Suh must receive punishment which is far more severe and fit the crime.
After Detroit’s Sunday loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Suh was in tears as he attempted to speak at the post-game news conference. He was crying for himself. He has never shown remorse for those he attempted to harm on the field, when careers might have been ended.
Suh has been fined a total of $420,669 during his career. He has been fined nine times since 2010. He was suspended only once in 2011 for two games without pay.
Few players who face suspension win their appeals. Suh was victorious and was allowed to play in Sunday’s wild card game. League policies are entirely ambiguous. Common sense tells any thinking human being that any player who makes a conscious effort to harm an opposing player should receive a lengthy suspension. He might also be required to attend anger management counseling.
When Suh stomped on the ankle of Aaron Rodgers, his intent was obvious. If the Lions won on the following Sunday, they would play Green Bay during the playoffs. Without Rodgers, it is highly unlikely the Packers would be victorious.
A technicality contained in the league’s player agreement allowed Suh to be active against the Cowboys. The new and frivolous rule states that if a player goes 32 games without intent to harm another player, he is removed from the ‘repeat offender’ list and no suspension will be levied. It had been exactly 32 games since Suh had been fined when he attempted to harm Rodgers.
Professional football is played by exceptional athletes. For sixteen games they play through injuries great and small. When a player reaches the NFL, he is very aware that a single play could end his career; the size and speed of offensive and defensive linemen is nearly beyond comprehension. Intentionally harming another player is unacceptable.
Goodell was willing to ban Ray Rice for life when the former Baltimore Raven rendered his fiancé unconscious. Suh has been found guilty nine times of grievous action against an opposing player; why does he remain on the field?
Op-Ed By James Turnage