I wasn’t into super heroes or cartoon characters as a child. I became a sports fan early in life so the walls of my room were mostly covered with team pennants and posters and pictures of my favorite players. They were larger than life characters to me and I often imitated them in the backyard, street or driveway.
Whether it be the naivety of youth or a result of mostly growing up in a pre-internet age, I never gave any thought to the men as they were off the field of play. Back then, SportsCenter was a highlights show and there was no twitter or facebook to give us glimpses into the lives of professional athletes.
The rise of social media and new media such as the internet has done wonders to further interest in sports due to the increased access it gives to the people that play them. It has gotten to the point, however, that fans and the media not only expect to hear from athletes after every game and scandal, but have a built in expectation for what we should hear. Ndamukong Suh fell short of that expectation yesterday.
Suh was asked about the stomp and suspension; he didn’t want to talk much about that.
Suh was asked about the car accident in Portland; he didn’t want to talk about that.
He’s looking forward, not back.
97.1 The Ticket’s Jeff Riger has a blog post up with his thoughts and impressions of Suh’s comments to the media following Lions practice and also in Suh’s radio interview with Valenti and Foster. It’s worth the read as a quick way to get up to speed on Suh’s day in words as he returned from suspension.
I can’t fault the media for asking the questions they did, but I also can’t fault Suh for choosing not to answer them. That’s his choice.
Perhaps Suh should have offered an apology but ultimately an apology is just a bunch of words. As a Lions fan, I’m not interested in words. I am interested in results. Some will suggest that a big game from Ndamukong Suh on Sunday will make all forgiven as if that is a bad thing. Are we as Lions fans supposed to hold a grudge against Ndamukong Suh because he didn’t say what some wanted to hear? No, I only need to see the kind of effort on the field that makes the Lions the best they can be.
Professional athletes aren’t larger than life figures. They are regular people with incredible talent that play a game we enjoy. If what an athlete says or doesn’t say inhibits your ability to enjoy watching the game then perhaps you weren’t watching for the right reasons to begin with.
Ndamukong Suh owes us something but it isn’t anything he can give with a microphone in his face. All he owes Lions fans is to be fully engaged, mentally and physically, for 60 minutes every game. It starts Sunday in Oakland.