I am a hardcore football fan. I live and breathe for football season. I’m passionate about my favorite team. However, there’s something I learned from my lowly days playing high school football that it’s obvious some NFL players never learned. My coach always told us that, no matter what else happened on the field, we were to conduct ourselves as a first-class team.
There have always been dirty players in the NFL. Until recently, most of my disgust for dirty players has been aimed at Cortland Finnegan. Not only is Finnegan a dirty player, he said he was honored to be listed on Sports Illustrated’s list of the dirtiest players in the NFL. In fact, he said that he wished he had been listed first and that his goal was to be considered the dirtiest player in the league. That disgusts me on many levels. First, whatever small amount of talent he might have is negated by the fact that he is dirty. If you have to play dirty, I feel it means you don’t have the talent to play with the big boys. The fact that he aspires to play this way means that he has absolutely no class.
While Finnegan will always hold a place on my list of NFL players that are a waste of good air, there is a new player that has been quickly creeping up my list. Ndamukong Suh’s dirty play in the NFL began in the preseason of 2010, the year he was drafted. He was penalized and fined for a hit on Jake Delholmme that year. Over the last couple of years, he has drawn many personal fouls, being tied for the most personal fouls by any player since 2010 (as of the beginning of 2012). All of this put him on my dirty player radar, but I never gave him too much thought until he stomped on Packer’s lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving in 2011.
A year after that disgusting incident, Suh couldn’t resist another pathetic display. On Thanksgiving of this year, Suh was recorded kicking Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin. There was some controversy about the play because Suh was being tripped up by a Texans player at the time. However, a look at the video of the incident will show that Suh didn’t just fall into Schaub. He clearly extended his leg to kick Schaub in the groin. Unfortunately, the league seems to have watched the video with their eyes closed because they chose not to suspend Suh for the obvious kick.
Shortly after Suh escaped the consequences of his dirty play on Thanksgiving, he was again caught doing something ugly. In last week’s game against the Colts, Suh was reportedly standing over Colts offensive tackle Winston Justice after Suh had knocked him down laughing and dancing. Justice was on the ground having suffered a concussion.
Recently, the NFL players voted Suh the dirtiest player in the league. I’m not sure if it’s denial or simply lies, but Suh takes offense to the idea that he is a dirty player and defends his style of play. In an interview with ESPN, Suh stated that he didn’t believe in his reputation as a dirty player. It takes a lot for me to say that someone has taken the number one spot on my list of players that I detest. Cortland Finnegan has been firmly implanted in that position for a while. But Suh’s disgusting behavior on field, and his refusal to admit to his conduct, firmly plants him on the top of my list of low class players. Fortunately, Suh plays for a team that I don’t watch often because I hate seeing terrible teams get beat. As Mike McGlynn, offensive lineman for the Colts, said about Suh’s conduct, “there’s no room for that. It’s disgusting… That’s why they lose. I hope they never win another game.” It may sound harsh to wish punishment on the entire Lions organization, but if they refuse to hold Suh accountable for his actions, it’s what they deserve.