The NFL has fined Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh $30,000 for his kick to the groin of Texans quarterback Matt Schaub on Thanksgiving.
The fine was confirmed by the NFL shortly after Suh made his first public comments about the incident, comments in which he insisted that he had nothing to apologize for because he hadn’t intentionally kicked Schaub and had only made contact because he was falling awkwardly after being dragged to the ground.
Apparently the NFL didn’t buy that explanation, although the NFL’s decision to discipline Suh at all raises a couple of questions.
For those who think Suh is telling the truth that it was an accident, the question is, Why should Suh be fined at all? After all, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league has no way of knowing what Suh’s intent was.
For those who think Suh meant to do it, the question is, Why wasn’t Suh suspended? This was his second consecutive Thanksgiving in which he was involved in a controversial incident with his foot striking an opposing player. Last year he was suspended two games for stomping on Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. The NFL says it will deal particularly harshly with repeat offenders, and yet Suh is getting off with a much softer punishment than last year’s two-game suspension.
Ultimately, this punishment indicates that the league doesn’t want to give Suh the benefit of the doubt given his history but also can’t say for sure that Suh meant to do it.