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Merton Hanks decided Suh’s kick didn’t warrant a suspension

Merton Hanks 49ers Getty Images

Last week, NFL V.P. of Football Operations Merton Hanks was the official who made the determination that Ravens safety Ed Reed deserved a suspension for his third flagrant helmet-to-helmet hit in the last three seasons, a determination that was later reversed on appeal. This week, it was Hanks who made the determination that Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh does not deserve a suspension for kicking Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin.

A league source tells PFT that Hanks determined that the play, on which Suh’s foot connected to Schaub’s groin as Suh was falling to the ground, was not flagrant enough to warrant a suspension.

The NFL hasn’t yet determined whether a fine will be handed down, but it was Hanks who made the preliminary determination that it wasn’t bad enough to suspend Suh. The league office generally holds off on any announcements about fines until late in the week, but suspensions are usually announced at the start of the week, both to give the player time for a quick appeal before he misses a game, and to give the team time to prepare for the player’s absence if the appeal is not successful.

Hanks was an NFL safety who played eight seasons for the 49ers and one for the Seahawks. Before he took a job in the league office that may lead some players to view him as a killjoy, he was known for the chicken dance, using one of the longest necks in the NFL to do one of the best celebrations in the NFL.

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45 Responses to “Merton Hanks decided Suh’s kick didn’t warrant a suspension”
  1. purplekoolaid1 says: Nov 26, 2012 5:23 PM

    Did he do his giraffe neck dance after he made the decision?

  2. benh999 says: Nov 26, 2012 5:23 PM

    I think I’d rather take a helmet-to-helmet hit than a kick to the crotch (with spikes for good measure).

  3. cabby782 says: Nov 26, 2012 5:24 PM

    Easy to say wasn’t his junk got plunked

  4. tedmurph says: Nov 26, 2012 5:24 PM

    Hanks had the best post-turnover dance ever.

  5. i10east says: Nov 26, 2012 5:26 PM

    I’ll take it that Merton’s neck also didn’t think that Suh deserved a suspension.

  6. clayme52 says: Nov 26, 2012 5:27 PM

    Suh isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but he is indeed a tool

  7. 2difshoe says: Nov 26, 2012 5:28 PM

    Obviously during Hanks playing days, they did not check for concussions ?

  8. bennyb82 says: Nov 26, 2012 5:29 PM

    The next time something borderline happens involving Suh, I expect the NFL to suspend him. I am a Lions fan…but even I can see that the way he plays is not always clean. He plays hard but always seems to have borderline dirty plays. He almost seems to have found a way to play maliciously, but not quite maliciously enough to be suspended…of course that obviously doesnt include the stomp.

  9. farty5 says: Nov 26, 2012 5:30 PM

    Merton Hanks deserves a suspension for two dumb decisions in two weeks

  10. thestrategyexpert says: Nov 26, 2012 5:30 PM

    Good thing the justice system isn’t run by Merton Hanks. People who are incompetently handling guns and accidentally committing manslaughter would be able to get away without any punishment. I guess Hanks believes that people should not be held responsible or accountable for their actions in the event of an accident or an intentional act that can’t be proven to be intentional.

    What a softie. I don’t think that’s a good image for the league. The NFL has been more aggressive on other issues so this is inconsistent, plus the NFL is too soft on people that get away with stuff that they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with. He should be replaced.

  11. ttoptom says: Nov 26, 2012 5:31 PM

    Ditto all comments from previous Suh suspension articles.

  12. mgavin78 says: Nov 26, 2012 5:33 PM

    Crazy chicken dance.

  13. easydog100 says: Nov 26, 2012 5:33 PM

    The lack of suspension for Suh is difficult to understand. The action was blatant, intentional and is deserving of a major suspension. Decisions like this seem completely arbitrary and gives the notion that some players are favored over others.

  14. watermelon1 says: Nov 26, 2012 5:39 PM

    You should really put quotation around “flagrant helmet to helmet” when referring to Reed’s incident.

    And if those are flagrant and deserve a suspension or fine.. Then kicking a man between the legs… Whether or not you’re wearing cleats/spikes… Deserves suspension indefinitely, and probably a public hanging to be honest. That’s just against man-law.

  15. splitspider7 says: Nov 26, 2012 5:41 PM

    so what you’re saying is merton basically stuck his neck out for suh…

  16. toddbronson1 says: Nov 26, 2012 5:41 PM

    I wish we could suspended the officials who called the game.

  17. patsfan13 says: Nov 26, 2012 5:45 PM

    If the league refuses to punish blatant and repeat offenders, maybe it’s time teams in the NFL take up a hockey approach, and have enforcers on their teams. Frontier justice.

  18. charlesanakin says: Nov 26, 2012 6:03 PM

    Hey for all of you crying for a suspension where were you on Jared Allen’s punch, Brian Robisons groin kick and Bunkleys kick in the head yesterday. Huge double standard by the plebe’s, I think so. Btw those were all clearly intentional. What’s clear is that a player who has been on the field and played looked at the tape and saw that unless Suh is an undercover ninja the physics of the play just don’t allow for an intentional kick to that perfectly placed.

  19. upperdecker19 says: Nov 26, 2012 6:14 PM

    Matt Schaub’s ability to reproduce thinks that this is a lousy decision.

  20. 11inthebox says: Nov 26, 2012 6:14 PM

    @thestrategyexpert who says:
    Good thing the justice system isn’t run by Merton Hanks. People who are incompetently handling guns and accidentally committing manslaughter would be able to get away without any punishment.
    ———————————
    Yeah, because a kick to the groin in a football game should be apporachedwith the same intensity and moral outrage as a murder committed on the street. I understand you want something to complain about, but really, get a grip. And some perspective.

  21. i, flounder says: Nov 26, 2012 6:21 PM

    darkness

  22. frank433 says: Nov 26, 2012 6:22 PM

    Granted, I haven’t read all the comments so I don’t know if it was brought up, but here is my take on the play.

    Suh knew the area that Schaub was at, he knew he was going down and couldn’t make a play on the QB, so he tried to stick out his leg to trip/leg whip him. Granted, it still would be a penalty, but he was probably trying to use any way to get him down. It was an unfortunate connection in the worst of areas. So I think he meant to hit him with his leg/foot on his way down, I just don’t think he meant to hit him in the groin with his spikes.

  23. freebird2011 says: Nov 26, 2012 6:30 PM

    When you watch it in real time, as opposed to slow motion, Jaworski was right. Suh’s head was in a position where he couldn’t possibly see where Schaub was. I really don’t think Suh lined up and aimed at Schaub’s package on purpose.

    However, that being said, the foot thrust manuever (even if it was to try to dislodge the ball or hit Schaub’s arm) is against the rules. The only guys who should be kicking are guys like Hanson and Harris.

  24. fmwarner says: Nov 26, 2012 6:30 PM

    What’s left out here is not how flagrant it is on a sliding scale, but whether it was intentional or not. If it was unintentional, then even crushed grapes would draw no fine or suspension. They have to decide whether it was intentional before they decide how flagrant it was.

  25. giantsfanlewis says: Nov 26, 2012 6:31 PM

    Everyone is looking at this wrong. The NFL is trying to downplay it so they can use it on afv and win $100,000

  26. purpleguy says: Nov 26, 2012 6:32 PM

    Even it it was Suh, who’s a dirtbag, the kick to the gonads probably wasn’t conclusive enough to warrant any punishment. Can we now stop talking about this guy please?

  27. mrbigass says: Nov 26, 2012 6:34 PM

    So if they fine him instead of a suspension what does that say about being a repeat offender?

    Stomping = Suspension

    Nut kicking = Fine

    More head & nut kicking = ?

  28. bender4700 says: Nov 26, 2012 6:46 PM

    charlesanakin says: Nov 26, 2012 6:03 PM

    Hey for all of you crying for a suspension where were you on Jared Allen’s punch, Brian Robisons groin kick and Bunkleys kick in the head yesterday. Huge double standard by the plebe’s, I think so. Btw those were all clearly intentional. What’s clear is that a player who has been on the field and played looked at the tape and saw that unless Suh is an undercover ninja the physics of the play just don’t allow for an intentional kick to that perfectly placed.

    AMEN

    Where’s the outrage over Bunkley kicking a man in the head, OBVIOUSLY on purpose.

    *crickets*

  29. choppa2lis says: Nov 26, 2012 6:58 PM

    if suh did this to the nfl’s do no wrong greatest qb who ever lived rg3 , suh would be suspended for the year. and furthermore, if the lions were scheduled to play the redskins next week, suh wouldve been suspended for that game, cant have anything happen to the nfl’s precious rg3 can we

  30. houstontexan713281832 says: Nov 26, 2012 7:06 PM

    charlesanakin says: Nov 26, 2012 6:03 PM

    Hey for all of you crying for a suspension where were you on Jared Allen’s punch, Brian Robisons groin kick and Bunkleys kick in the head yesterday. Huge double standard by the plebe’s, I think so. Btw those were all clearly intentional. What’s clear is that a player who has been on the field and played looked at the tape and saw that unless Suh is an undercover ninja the physics of the play just don’t allow for an intentional kick to that perfectly placed.

    AMEN

    Where’s the outrage over Bunkley kicking a man in the head, OBVIOUSLY on purpose.

    *crickets*
    _______________________________________

    I didn’t watch Vikings game and also haven’t seen any stories on it either. If that did happen then they also deserve to be fined/suspended. Obviously Suh leg swing to the nuts was talked about more because of his reputation.

  31. marcinhouston says: Nov 26, 2012 7:11 PM

    Remember when Kyle Turley got suspended and sent to anger management for removing the helmet from a defender who was continuing to maul his QB after the whistle? Would you rather have someone take off your hat, or kick you in the balls? The NFL doesn’t care about players who do harm after the whistle, it is much more a calculation about not wanting less marketable players to draw undue attention to themselves or speak out of turn. If you throw a flag at the wrong time, you lose the game. If you take off a helmet, thats a big deal. If you kick eachother in the balls, boys will be boys.

  32. isphet71 says: Nov 26, 2012 7:11 PM

    The tears of Suh’s enemies taste like sweet, sweet bacon.

    You obviously didn’t whine hard enough, Suh haters.

  33. chi01town says: Nov 26, 2012 7:24 PM

    The NFL is letting Suh get away with kicking that man in the nuts. CHOP BLOCK him on every play. I would have a different O-linemen or TE or FB chop him on every play. hurt him bad before he kicks somebody else

  34. bmue42 says: Nov 26, 2012 7:27 PM

    Coming from a packers fan who saw this up close last year and see him twice a year. Just watch it at full speed, not super slow mo, theres no way, unless he just has the body control of a olympian

  35. eddielionhead says: Nov 26, 2012 7:36 PM

    not one word about saints player brodrick bunkley kick to the head of 49er player in pro talk only about suh. must be thay have it in for certain teams, Suh did not get suspended. thank the nfl for the right call.

  36. razsan says: Nov 26, 2012 7:40 PM

    @benh99 says:
    “I think I’d rather take a helmet-to-helmet hit than a kick to the crotch (with spikes for good measure).”

    First of all it’s indoors so they don’t wear spikes, second, it sounds like you already took the hit if you believe that.

  37. scoregasmic says: Nov 26, 2012 7:41 PM

    Good man, faith in humanity restored. Suh shouldn’t even be fined for this

  38. drgreenstreak says: Nov 26, 2012 7:47 PM

    Hanks? Why not the ghost of Buffalo Bob?

    Suh isn’t done being a fool. He has the make-up of a sociopath. Lions will send him packing next time. If not, Schwartz will be history.

  39. birdsflynorth206 says: Nov 26, 2012 8:40 PM

    Suh told Hanks he would get a kick to the groin if he suspended him.

  40. laserw says: Nov 26, 2012 8:41 PM

    Well, then. I don’t expect any offensive lineman to be called for a leg whip on Suh as he is eliminated from playing this year with a knee injury.

    Perhaps if he receives what he dishes out will that idiot Pig Suh learn.

    A career-ending injury is soon a well-deserved punishment – the NFL needs no punks like him in the game.

  41. lroc20 says: Nov 26, 2012 8:44 PM

    Unintentional kick, great call, not a lions fan

  42. bcjim says: Nov 26, 2012 8:50 PM

    Merton hanks is an NFL VP???

    Wow.

  43. beelza says: Nov 26, 2012 9:21 PM

    Don’t mess with Texas. Big bad Texans. One little toe touch to Matty’s chones and Suh deserves the death penalty, governor ready to secede, grown men in oversized cowboy hats crying to their wives that the deetroit lions are too rough. When another team bucks up and blasts Stafford the next time mr.Suh gets unruly, it will be the last time Suh takes liberties, or atleast until he’s traded. It’ll be flag football in 5 years. If that were Romo instead of Matt I bet Jerry goes to the sideline, grabs Mr. Ware and tells him to handle this, right now.

  44. zz56 says: Nov 26, 2012 9:49 PM

    Just a case of a brother covering another brother’s Ass! Where’s the justice in that? But if the roles were reversed and a white man kicked a black qb in the nuts bloody murder would have been lodged
    that he was racist!!! Another case of a black getting away with murder (Right OJ?) violence against a white, who gives a rats ass anymore!

  45. gipped1984 says: Nov 26, 2012 9:59 PM

    Has anyone ever seen Flavor Flav and Merton Hanks in the same place..at the same time?

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