The hanging crew is out. N’Damukong Suh has been tried, convicted and strung up on the same day, and his reputation as a dirty player is forever cemented like dry stuffing thanks to his Thanksgiving day stomp. Calls are going out for suspensions, and comparisons are made to Albert Haynesworth.
The Haynesworth comparisons are ridiculous.
Haynesworth dispassionately removed Gurode’s helmet while he was lying on the ground and cleated his face. Haynesworth may have been angry about something that happened earlier in the game, but it was a premeditated act that caused serious injury. Suh was angry and in the heat of a post-play tussle, and tried to take one last kick in the opponent’s direction as he was being pulled away.
Suh should have been penalized. He was. He should have been ejected once he tried to stomp on the opponent while being pulled away. He was. It was a dumb penalty, and exhibited a lack of control that let the opponent get to him in a key situation. He can bet he will continue to have buttons pushed now. He cost his team four points because of his penalty after a third and goal, and more because of his absence. His explanation/excuse afterward was equally dumb.
I don’t think, though, that this is a suspendable offense. Earlier this year, we saw Brian Robison, against the Packers as well, deliver an intentional stomp to the groin. He wasn’t even ejected (should have been) and then was fined but not suspended afterwards. We’ve seen numerous players take swings at players, some ejected and some not. Charles Woodson threw a punch earlier this year and was not ejected, and not suspended afterwards.
If you want to read an old account of some actions that merited a one-game suspension, check out this account of Raiders defensive lineman Greg Townsend versus the Chiefs (h/t: @bmenezes). Townsend speared one lineman in the back, stomped the head of another with his helmet off, and ripped the helmet off another by the facemask.
I know, I know, you are going to say repeat offender and the suspension should be because it’s Ndamukong Suh. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that was Suh’s third personal foul of the year and 7th since 2010, tying him with Cliff Avril for most in the league. He’s got a reputation. People will point out that he visited with Goodell in the last month. My understanding of that meeting, though, was that it was initiated by Suh. It wasn’t a “come to Jesus” meeting with Roger Goodell where ultimatums were issued. Suh wanted to clarify his fines for hits on the quarterbacks.
Goodell will likely do what he wants, or bend to the public outrage of an overstuffed population. There are no standards, which is my issue with the Goodell discipline structure. Hey, if the NFL wanted to put clear objective standards, much like an accumulation of red cards in soccer, that you sit after a certain number of personal fouls, then fine. I don’t recall Cliff Avril getting suspended for that. There is no such standard currently in place. If Goodell wants to put those standards in place for future suspensions, okay, but I don’t think you can arbitrarily line draw where a suspension occurs for past (dissimilar) dirty behavior.
On the merits of the act alone, though, this isn’t a suspension. He paid dearly for his act, both in public image, and in cost to his team. The team he harmed, Green Bay, benefited by having him out of the game. Suh should play the next game. He should probably be ready to get some business at the bottom of the pile. I’ve heard that happens in the NFL.
[photo via Getty]