Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 28, 2011

James Cook: Suh's actions merit ban, but so have others


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---- — Sitting at home with no Detroit Lions or Green Bay Packers to watch Sunday left a kind of empty feeling.

Ndamukong Suh is going to know that type of feeling -- only worse -- when the NFL comes down on the Lions defensive tackle for his actions in Thursday's loss to the Pack.

Various sources say Suh will be suspended for at least two games for repeatedly showing the helmet -- and head -- of Packers offensive guard Evan Dietrich-Smith, and then stomping on the player's arm as he was able to extricate himself from Dietrich-Smith's hold.

The immediate comparison that many are making is Albert Haynesworth's stomp of Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode. Haynesworth ripped Gurode's helmet off and then clearly intentionally stepped on Gurode's head, cutting him with his cleats. Suh was wearing turf shoes, not cleats. Dietrich-Smith was also not hurt.

Haynesworth was suspended for five games, and like Suh it wasn't his first run-in with the league, either.

Does Suh deserve to be punished? Certainly.

Will he be suspended? That's up for debate.

I think he will. But there have been several other noteworthy incidents this season that have been just as egregious as Suh's that haven't merited a suspension -- or even an ejection.

And Green Bay has been involved -- either on the receiving or giving end -- in several of them.

The Packers' Charles Woodson punched New Orleans tight end David Thomas in the groin right in front of a referee and was only given a 15-yard penalty. He was later fined $10,000 by the NFL.

Houston's Brian Robison kicked Green Bay lineman T.J. Lang in the groin -- also in plain sight of a referee -- and wasn't even called for a foul. He was later fined $20,000.

Both of these incidents occurred this season. And, granted, neither player has the checkered history of aggression that Suh has demonstrated in his two-year NFL career, but going after a guy's groin should be taken seriously.

It's also noteworthy that Woodson expressed remorse. Suh did not in his post-game comments, though he later belatedly apologized for his actions on his Facebook page, saying, "My reaction on Thursday was unacceptable. I made a mistake, and have learned from it. I hope to direct the focus back to the task at hand -- by winning."

If Suh is banned for two games, it's not going to make much of a difference to Detroit. Face it: The Lions likely wouldn't win in New Orleans even with Suh. And they sure as heck should beat Minnesota at home the following week.

One small sliver of hope (along with the fact the NFL might not want one of its young stars suspended for a prime time game) that Suh has is that off the field, he's proven to be one the NFL's high-character guys. Too bad that doesn't translate to on the field, but then he isn't paid to be a gentleman to the opposition.