The word is, two games. That's the word on Ndirty Ndamukong Suh. He'll be suspended two games for his Thanksgiving violence against Green Bay, when he shoved an opposing player's head into the turf repeatedly, then stomped on the guy. And if you're an NFL fan, you should want Suh suspended for two games.
Unless you're a fan of the Detroit Lions -- in which case you should want him suspended even longer.
Might not make sense on the surface -- but it will, promise. By the time I'm done explaining this, even Detroit fans will want NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to throw the book at Suh. Maybe a few books. Maybe the whole damn set of Encyclopedia Britannica. Throw them, one letter at a time. By the time Goodell gets to the letters "N" and "O," maybe this truth will have seeped into Ndamukong Suh's skull:
This can't continue.
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And please understand that, until Suh got felonious with the Packers, I was inclined to support the guy. God help me and my blind eyes, that's where I was with Suh. A few weeks ago I considered writing an entire column on Suh, about how maybe he wasn't a dirty player -- just a supernaturally strong one. Seriously, I thought about writing that a few weeks back. With the whispers mounting each week that Suh was dirty, my thought process was this: Is he too dirty for the NFL ... or is he just too strong?
I was going to compare Suh to Shaquille O'Neal, since there really isn't anyone like Suh in his own sport. Even in a sport filled with prehistoric-sized beasts, Suh has cartoon strength. The same violent move that results in a sack for most defensive lineman tends to look more dangerous when Suh does it, like when Shaquille O'Neal used to bump another center and the guy wouldn't just stumble off balance -- he'd fly out of bounds. Was Shaq dirty, or just too damn big and strong for everyone else?
That was my position on Suh, but not anymore. Too dirty, or too strong?
That verdict is in.
Suh is too dirty for the NFL. He's not merely big and powerful, though he is both of those things. He's also mean, bordering on cruel. He's the worst kind of big, strong guy -- he's a big, strong bully. Much is expected of a guy given that kind of size and strength -- much self-control, much humanity -- but Suh shows neither on the field.
Apparently he's a great guy off the field, donating time and money to worthwhile causes, and that's noted. It's also irrelevant. In fact, it's insulting. The way Suh behaves on the field, it undercuts what he does off it. Makes it look insincere. Fake. Because on the field he's a monster. He's a prince off the field? Faker. Fraud. We see the real Ndamukong Suh every week, all fall, and he's no prince.
If you're a fan of any of the other 31 teams in this league, you want Suh suspended for multiple games because you love this sport, and because you hate what Suh is doing to it. But if you're a fan of the Lions, you should be hoping Goodell sits Suh for more than a few games. How about the rest of the season? Maybe that would get the message across. Lord knows national ridicule hasn't stopped Suh from being the dirtiest player since James Harrison.
And is that what you want, Lions fans?
Do you want a bigger, stronger, meaner, dirtier James Harrison?
That's what you have. That's what Suh is today, when he's ramming the head of Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith into the Ford Field turf. Ramming it two, three, four times. And then standing up and stomping on Dietrich-Smith's arm, and why? Probably because he couldn't go completely Albert Haynesworth on Dietrich-Smith and reach his face.
That's where Suh is today, in his second year in the league, with another decade to go. As Suh's dominance grows, so too will grow his feeling of invulnerability. I mean, already he's taunting injured quarterbacks as they lie on the turf in pain, as he did to Atlanta's Matt Ryan last month. What kind of liberties will Suh take on opposing players after he's been named to four or five Pro Bowls in a row, after he's won an AP Defensive Player of the Year award (or two or three)?
He might just kill someone.
Look, maybe that's hyperbole. But maybe it's not. Suh isn't content to sack a quarterback -- he twists off their helmet, probably because he'd like to remove their head from their shoulders. Maybe someday he succeeds, or at the very least maybe someday he breaks somebody's damn neck. Because he can. Because nobody ever made it clear that he shouldn't.
Nobody wants that, least of all a fan of the Detroit Lions. You want Suh to be dominant, yes, but you need him to remain unsuspended to be dominant. He can't become the league's next (only worse, much worse) James Harrison, getting fined several times every year until fines give way to suspensions because the fines aren't working. Already, the fines aren't working. Look at the Thanksgiving massacre. That happened after Suh had been fined three times in less than two full seasons. A fourth fine is coming, obviously, but it needs to be more.
Suh is dangerous and getting worse by the week. He's a kid who has always liked matches -- only now he's lighting them, flicking them at trash cans to see what happens next. One of these days he'll burn the whole house down. Your house, Lions fans. Is that what you want? Of course not.
When Haynesworth stomped Andre Gurode in 2006, he was suspended for five games. And Haynesworth hadn't been fined repeatedly leading up to the Gurode fiasco. Nor had Haynesworth met with Goodell three weeks -- just three weeks! -- before stomping on a defenseless opponent, as Suh met with the commissioner on Nov. 1.
Haynesworth was suspended five games in 2006, but that doesn't sound like the ceiling for what Goodell could do to Suh.
That sounds like the starting point.