When Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh went low on Vikings center John Sullivan during an interception return last Sunday, it was detestable enough to cause the NFL to slap him with a $100,000 fine.
But Suh and his representatives believe the punishment is too excessive, and he is appealing that fine -- which happens to be the largest ever levied to a player for on-field actions that also did not involve a suspension.
"It's going through the appeals process," Suh told the Associated Press Wednesday.
He vowed not to change his style. "I'm going to continue to play hard, blue-collar football."
Roosevelt Barnes, Suh's agent, defended his client's actions during the controversial play in an interview with the AP.
"Everyone is talking about how Ndamukong shouldn't have blocked the 300-pound lineman because there was no way he was going to catch a linebacker. If that's the case, the lineman should've known he wasn't going to catch the linebacker. But the lineman did attempt to catch the linebacker and Ndamukong attempted to block him. But everyone wants to make Ndamukong out to be a villain."
The last time Suh was fined, it was for kicking Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin, and the league fined Suh $30,000 for that violation. So, $100,000 probably seems like a big jump to Suh and his agents.
Of course, Suh is fined much more than the average player, so the league simply could be trying to teach Suh an important -- and expensive -- lesson.
(They could have done that by suspending him as well, but the NFL decided not to go with that approach.)
Somehow, in case you missed it, here's what the fury is all about.
After the game, Suh said that he caught up with Sullivan and that the two worked out their differences.
“By any means, I'm not going for his knees," Suh said. "He knows that. We had a great conversation running out at halftime. And he understood. My aim was his waist, to cut him off."
But Sullivan also didn't seem particularly pleased after the game, and a suspension from the league apparently was, at some point, under serious consideration.
"I'm just happy I wasn't hurt -- seriously injured," he told reporters. "There's a reason that play is illegal. It's incredibly dangerous. I just feel fortunate that I'll be playing this week."
Suh's appeal will be heard either by Ted Cottrell, a former NFL assistant coach, or former Ravens center Matt Birk. Suh probably will be hoping for the former since Birk used to play the same position that Sullivan does in the same city that Sullivan does.
Suh has since apologized to his team for the transgression.
"He apologized to the team. It was sincere. We accepted it," Lions running back Joique Bell said. "We all a family, and that's our brother. At the end of the day, we all we got. So, it was a good deal. Levy accepted it, so if he can accept it, everybody should be able to accept it."
What Suh can't seem to accept, though, is that six-figure punishment. It remains to be seen whether that figure is negotiable after all.
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