Detroit Lions’ fans have thick skin and have long ago accepted the fact that the majority of their players will get disrespected. With just one winning season since 2001 it should be expected, however one of the cornerstones of the franchise continues to be disrespected to the degree of petty jealously.
The most notorious Lion constantly under the microscope is Ndamukong Suh. The star out of Nebraska had an astonishing rookie season in 2010 with the makings of a bona fide NFL star. Early in the 2011 season, it was reported that Suh had been named “dirtiest player in the NFL” by his peers. That is obviously a media creation to fuel the countless hours of “debate” shows ESPN runs on a daily basis. You’ll never see a poll of the creepiest looking janitors voted by custodians everywhere, but dirty football players apparently moves the needle. At the time, I remember wondering how Suh was dirty. The only questionable thing was when he shoved Jay Cutler to the turf in a 2010 game, resulting in a bogus personal foul. That was a solid football play, not dirty.
But then a funny thing happened–he started living up to his reputation. Right around that time came the Thanksgiving stomping incident and the off field issues began to emerge. Its almost like he thought that if he couldn’t convince people that he’s clean, he might as well be dirty. His play suffered, taking a noticeable step back in the Lions’ playoff season.
Suh bounced back with a solid 2012 season, doubling his number of sacks to eight and appearing in the Pro Bowl, but no one really cared to notice. The media even trumped up another Thanksgiving kicking incident (clearly unintentional) and an unsubstantiated report of taunting an injured Indianapolis Colt. Future Hall-of-Famer Warren Sapp has made a second career out of obsessing about everything Suh-related. Sapp has taken so many shots that even a fellow employee of NFL media, Kareem Copeland of NFL.com, had this to say about the NFL Network analyst in January:
I still haven’t figured out the Sapp-Suh beef,” Copeland wrote. “Former players are hired as analysts to give a perspective only gained from playing the game at a high level. That’s his job. But there always seems to be a Suh-doesn’t-do-what-I-did element.”
Copeland hits the nail on the head. Whenever I hear Sapp open up his yap and the word “Suh” comes out, I roll my eyes. I am not sure what Sapp has to gain from this feud, he had a career which will take him to the Hall of Fame later this summer. It just seems to be a bit of petty jealous on his part.
It’s the same thing people in their 30’s and 40’s do when they look at today’s college students–they can’t believe the choices these “kids” make, they didn’t do things like that in “their day,” and they’ll never make it in this world if they don’t change their ways. But all of that is a way of expressing jealousy–that they are doing what you enjoyed most during your life, and you’ll never have that slice of life back. Sapp is an overexposed, overpaid, lousy NFL analyst. He gets by on his name and his loud mouth, but he really wishes he was on that football field, making the same mistakes as Suh.
Back in December, Ndamukong called Sapp out and told him to put his money where his mouth is.
You have a guy that, in essence, criticizes me and says I’m doing things so horribly wrong and not playing up to my potential,” Suh said. “Show me what you think I’m doing incorrectly…”
It appears Sapp passed on that opportunity in order to continue to spout his petty nonsense. The Copeland story from above was in response to fresh criticisms from Sapp in January, after Suh had asked for his tutelage.
Way to step up to a challenge, Warren.