bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Ndamukong Suh is a dirty player

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When is a dirty player not a dirty player? In the case of Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, it is when you ask him. Ask anyone else, though, and you’ll likely hear a different tale. After numerous plays by him over the last couple of years that have gotten him penalized and fined, his reputation has become one of an exceptionally talented player who often steps over the line. On Thanksgiving Day, his actions left no doubt as to which side of that line is his preferred side. During a scuffle with Evan Dietrich-Smith of the Green Bay Packers, he not only banged Dietrich-Smith’s head against the ground several times, but he stomped on his arm with his cleat as he was pulled off of his opponent. Suh was immediately ejected from the game.

I have no doubt that there are many questionable things that occur during a football game. Most of them are not seen by the referees or the cameras. When there is a fumble that produces a pileup, the things that happen underneath that pile would make you cringe (or at least cross your legs). I guess those things are part of the game. Openly stomping on another player is a completely different sort of thing. The last time I remember that happening, it was Albert Haynesworth stepping on the head of Andre Gurode in 2006. That one was far worse, of course, as it involved a player’s head and some people felt that Haynesworth actually pulled Gurode’s helmet off first before stomping (twice). Still, the only reason for Suh to do what he did was because he intended to injure Dietrich-Smith. The NFL has spent a lot of time talking about protecting players over the last couple of years. I feel that a multi-game suspension is absolutely necessary here, particularly in light of Suh’s six other personal foul penalties since he joined the league in 2010. Anything less would undermine the league’s efforts to make the game safer and would make Roger Goodell, the commissioner, appear very soft.

The most amazing thing about this whole story is the fact that Suh actually denies intentionally stomping on Dietrich-Smith. If you watch the video, you will surely feel that your intelligence is being insulted by this guy. Suh’s claim that he was merely trying to regain his balance as he was being pulled up from the ground is beyond ridiculous. The NFL should extend his suspension by one game just for saying that. I hope they come down very hard on him. He is an amazing talent, and can change a game by himself, which is not something you can say about a lot of players. His toughness and drive have given his team an edge that it has not had in years, and that’s a big part of why they are having success this year. He needs to learn how to rein it in a little, though. You can be tough without being dirty. Or stupid.

Bad sports, continued:

2) The Syracuse University sexual abuse scandal continues to grow, albeit at a much slower pace than the one at Penn State did as it was becoming public. Finally, accused assistant coach Bernie Fine has been fired by the university. Details are continuing to emerge. I would have to guess that head coach Jim Boeheim will not be far behind Fine on his way out the door.

3) A bus crash in Togo on Saturday resulted in the death of six members of one of the country’s soccer clubs. Twenty-eight others were injured, as the bus crashed into a ravine.

4) Greg Halman, a young outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, was stabbed and killed this week. His younger brother has been arrested and charged with the murder.

5) Fourteen players were ejected during a wild hockey game between two Finnish teams this week. All told, 439 penalty minutes were doled out in the game. That’s pretty spectacular.

6) Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson incurred a personal foul penalty during his team’s loss to the New York Jets on Sunday when he went a bit overboard during a touchdown celebration. Although there was a lot to it, the crux of the dance involved him acting like he had shot himself in the leg, a swipe at the Jets’ Plaxico Burress, who did that for real a couple of years back. I might have put this under Good Sports, as it was kind of funny and I am all for mocking Plaxico Burress, but the penalty gave the Jets good field position which they turned into points.

7) Erik Walden, a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers, was arrested on Friday. He has been charged with domestic battery after a fight with his girlfriend.

Good sports:

1) Harvard’s basketball team beat Florida State on Friday, using a stifling defense to beat the 22nd-ranked Seminoles, 46-41. Score one for the smart guys.

2) Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel set the series record for most pole positions in a season with sixteen after taking the top spot in Brazil on Saturday. Nigel Mansell’s record had stood for nineteen years.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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