The tweet from NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith illustrates the conflict inherent to union representation of an employee who has been accused of wrongdoing and the employee who has been victimized by it.
“I have reached out to Ndamukong Suh,” Smith said. “We believe that all players have a basic responsibility to each other.”
While that’s a far cry from Al Pacino declaring that “the honorable Henry T. Fleming should go right to f–king jail,” it shows that Smith in this case errs on the side of not taking out the knees of another player in a manner that violates the rules.
Suh either hasn’t gotten the message, or he doesn’t care. Suh told reporters on Wednesday he won’t change the way he plays, even though the way he played on Sunday resulted in a flagrant violation of the rules. Suh’s agent has concocted a tin-foil hat claim of persecution, arguing (we think) that Suh’s ability to on most days not stomp on guy’s arms or kick them in the crotch or take out their knees should be mitigating factors.
“Suh is a smart guy and I think when it happened, he knew that he made a mistake,” Lions running back Reggie Bush told NFL Network on Wednesday. “He stood up in front of the team this week and he apologized for it; he was a man about it and that’s what you need out of your leader, out of your captain. You need him to stand up for his mistakes when they happen. He realized what had happened, the league fined him and now we can close the chapter on that penalty, and we can move on.”
No one can move on while the appeal is pending. And if Suh wanted to do the right thing, he’d pay the fine without appeal, publicly apologize, vow to stay within the rules, and then do so. Otherwise, he’ll eventually be suspended again — and nothing he or his agent says will change the fact that the NFL will protect other players from Suh, and that the NFLPA will ultimately have no problem with it.