It was announced today that rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will be fined $7,500 for the assault on Jake Delhomme that almost took the quarterback’s head off.
While I’m glad that punishment was handed down, the message that the measly fine sends is entirely the wrong one for the office of Roger Goodell.
Today was also the day that Ben Roethlisberger had his sentence reduced from six games to four, which is probably why Suh isn’t getting headlines.
Well it’s either that, or the fact that the incident was in a preseason game between the Lions and Browns – who combined to win just seven games last year.
When you look at the two rulings sent down today, there is a disturbing message that was sent: excessive violence on the field is tolerable, but altercations off the field will result in hefty consequences.
Now, I don’t disagree with the Roethlisberger suspension – his actions, while not resulting in an arrest, were indefensible and not acceptable – but to suspend him for that and not suspend Suh for trying to take Delhommes head off? Not acceptable.
What Suh did has never been close to kosher in any football league he has ever played in. It was a blatant facemask, that was made worst when he threw Delhomme to the ground well after the quarterback had gotten rid of the ball.
To make matters worst, Suh came out afterwards and said that he wouldn’t change the way he played and didn’t seem to regret his actions.
This is comparable to last nights brawl between the Marlins and Nationals, where Nyjer Morgan continued to taunt the crowd after his ejection following his charge to the mound. That action earned him an eight game suspension today (it was apparently a busy day for suspensions in sports).
Out of all of the problems with the Suh play, the thing that was most appalling was the opinions of ESPN analysts. These people were saying that they liked the passion of Suh and that the aggressiveness was a good thing for a Lions team that won just two games in 2009.
Let’s get this straight; what Suh did was not acceptable, illegal, and an extremely dumb thing to do. If this was a guy with a less-than-stellar reputation like Albert Haynesworth, analysts would be all over him for having a lack of discipline and for being a potential problem because of personal foul penalties.
What kind of double-standard is that?
If Suh had apologized for his actions, it would be one thing, but his comments showed that he is not just “a good guy who made a mistake in the heat of the moment.”
He is a thug who doesn’t think that rules should keep him from inflicting whatever damage he wants to other players.
Suh should be suspended for the opening game of the season to show that unacceptable actions on the field are just as important as the more publicized ones that aren’t. Football is played on the gridiron and the events on the field should be more important than those off.
Goodell has made a reputation of being strict on off-the-field issues, but hasn’t done much about incidents that take place during games.
Suh is a rookie who needs to be told that those actions won’t be tolerated in the NFL – no matter how high he was drafted.
If Suh doesn’t understand what you can and can’t do when suited up, then he shouldn’t get to.