Once a hero for the Huskers, now Detroit Lion’s Ndamukong Suh is ranked NFL’s dirtiest player.
Students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln wonder how the Suh’s positive college reputation could dramatically change in the NFL. They hope the dirtiest player label won’t stick.
Suh has had eight personal fouls and has been disciplined five times for unsportsmanlike conduct — including $42,500 in fines — since he was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2010.
“I think he’s discovered that he’s capable of playing dirty in the NFL and being able to get away with it,” said Kyle Miller, a senior political science major at UNL.
On Tuesday, the defensive tackle was suspended for two games without pay following the Detroit Lion’s Thanksgiving game against the Packers. Suh held Green Bay’s Evan Dietrich-Smith’s helmet to the turf and then forcefully stomped on Dietrich-Smith’s arm while the player was laying on the ground.
Suh will take a $165,647 pay cut for missing two games, unless he successfully appeals the suspension.
“I love that he plays hard, but in the NFL, sometimes Suh goes overboard,” said Taylor Biggs, a senior communications major at UNL. “We didn’t see the dirty stuff when Suh played for Nebraska.”
Suh, a Heisman Trophy finalist and the first defensive player awarded the Associated Press College Player of the Year Award, gained thousands of devoted fans during his college football days. The student section was filled with Suh jerseys. Game day crowds loved to shout “SUHHHHH” to show support for their favorite defensive player.
In Nebraska, Suh was a philanthropist and even pledged to donate $2.6 million to the UNL athletic and engineering programs.
Fans followed Suh to the NFL — proud to see a Husker go pro. But Nebraska students, like Nick Hanson, aren’t too impressed with Suh’s NFL sportsmanship track record.
“I am very disappointed in him,” Hanson said. “He brings a lot of intensity to the game, but he needs to control his anger.”
Suh defended his Thanksgiving kick during a press conference saying, “A lot of people are going to create their own story lines for seeing what they want to interpret, but I know what I did and the man upstairs knows what I did.”
Later he apologized and said his reaction was “unacceptable”. Suh says Dietrich-Smith provoked him by pulling his face mask to the ground.
Courtney Burr, a senior history major at UNL, thinks more people should listen to Suh’s side of the story and believes he should not have been suspended.
“I think the media is dramatizing it and making it a bigger deal than it should be,” Burr said. “Although the stomp was uncalled for, I feel the NFL is not at the intensity that Suh is and he is being punished for it.”
“His fan base isn’t abandoning him — they’re hoping the suspension will be a wake-up call. Suh needs to tone down the aggression,” Biggs added.
Miller said he will remain a Suh fan as he always has been, but added, “if he continues to commit acts of aggression, such as what he did last Thursday, I will cease to be a fan.”
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