Ndamukong Suh Stomped on a Player's Arm: Did You Hear?

Brendan O'HareContributor INovember 25, 2011

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 24:  Defensive end Ndamukong Suh #90 of the Detroit Lions argues with referee Terry McAulay #77 after Suh is ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct in the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers during the Thanksgiving Day game at Ford Field on November 24, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Who is the maddest at Ndamukong Suh?

Is it ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, who wrote two damning posts about Suh on the NFC North blog?

Is it Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio—who’s never met a “thug” he hasn’t felt the urge to bemoan—who said Suh’s explanation of the incident was “an amazingly flimsy, and perhaps delusional, effort to explain what was obvious to anyone with eyes”?

Is it Houston radio host Lance Zierlein, who tweeted “Heard from some people at Nebraska that Suh was just as dirty in practice vs his own teammates. Angry dude”?

Is it B/R’s own James Van Etten, who wrote “Hell, Lionel Richie's wife thinks Suh went too far and her claim to fame is kicking her husband's ass”?

Is it FOX Sports’ Jason Whitlock—a man who is turning into the biggest troll since the antagonist from Three Billy Goats Gruff—who tweeted “The next Reggie White... How about Ndamukong Haynesworth? Dirty player... How about fraud? Dude is pampered by coaches and media” and “Calling Baby Haynesworth "dirty" is a copout. He flat out hasn't made plays this year. He's stunk all year (Writer’s Note: This isn’t true). Classic bully. #heaintsapp

The correct answer? We will never know, because every sportswriter is trying to top each other on this issue. “I’m more against kicking people then you are!” and “I knew Suh was an evil, dirty man whose heart was replaced by black coals! I TOLD YOU ALL” are basic underlying messages in most things you will read today about Ndamukong Suh.

The main thing I am taking away from all this is that the stomping incident (a video is included) is a confirmation of Suh’s dirtiness, when I don’t believe that is true at all. Every football player is dirty. Have you ever heard of what goes on in dogpiles that occur for loose balls? It is a cavalcade of eye gouging and punching, but we never see it on camera since it is blocked by 300-pound men.

To compare Suh to Albert Haynesworth, as our friend Whitlock did, is unbelievably absurd. Does anyone remember what Haynesworth actually did? He deliberately stomped on another human being’s head while wearing cleats, forcing said human being to receive thirty stitches on his face. Comparing Suh’s arm stomp—which may or may not have been intended for the ground—to Haynesworth malicious loss of self control is just ridiculous, and is intentionally demonizing.

I’m even not sure that Suh meant to step on Evan Dietrich-Smith. You can cast that off as youthful ignorance (and why wouldn’t you!), but I mean, if he really wanted to, and was so “out of control”, don’t you think Suh would have chosen someplace better than Dietrich-Smith’s arm as his intended place of violence? There is no one even threatening to take Suh’s side, who has replaced James Harrison as the NFL’s microscope-living badboy. Maybe it’s because Suh’s act is so foreign to us normal folk, that we cannot properly comprehend it.

Such symbols of maturity and civility like Deion Sanders cannot, and they are lecturing Suh how to behave. Every sportswriter in America is decrying Suh’s stomp as the end of days, pretending blood is falling from the sky. It’s not the end of days. What Suh did was bad, obviously. Any stomp on a player is not reprehensible by any means. But why don’t we get this worked up about other things, like helmet-to-helmet hits?

Those are miles dirtier and have a higher risk of injury than an arm stomp. Our values are all wrong here. We fan ourselves vigorously after an incident like this, and look the other way when a player is lying on the field with his eyes rolled back. The player who caused that won’t be suspended, but he should.

I’m not defending Suh’s actions, but I am defending Suh to an extent. He shouldn’t be a Thanksgiving pariah. What amazes me is that football is a sport built on “controlled violence”, one where concussions and brain damage are commonplace. Yet, we choose this act of violence to be riled up about. Kris Dielman can go back into a game after having a concussion, then suffer a seizure on the flight home, and Suh’s mental lapse is ten times larger in the minds of the media.

It doesn’t add up. Suh’s act shows a lack of mental control, and that shouldn’t be forgotten. He should own up to it, and not doing so is probably another reason for the wildfire. But there are worse things going on in the NFL.