Ndamukong Suh: A Menace to the NFL?
by Trace Salvato, Broadcast Journalism, 2014
Ndamukong Suh was a transcendent star in college as a Nebraska Cornhusker. He was a dominant athlete and after being drafted second overall in the 2010 National Football League Draft by the Detroit Lions, he was immediately selected as a face of Detroit sports and the NFL.
Suh’s situation has put him in the position to be a potential marketing monster. He has been a key in the turnaround of the Lions franchise, which means as much for Detroit as a city as it does for its football fans. Detroit has been hit possibly the hardest of all major cities in the United States by the recession. A ray of hope is what they needed, and Suh was just that.
Chrysler, a car company in Detroit that suffered enormously from the down economy, gave Suh a huge sponsorship in which he is starred in commercials that are aired every football Sunday. Subway has made him a face of their company as well, again with him in the advertisements and commercials. And to top it all off, a campaign that encourages sportsmanship and activity for children fighting childhood obesity called NFL Play 60 came out with a new commercial in which Suh stars.
So Suh is clearly in a position to be a good role model and moneymaker for the NFL, as well as the company’s he represents, but so far he has been a bad one.
He has had a history of being a dirty player, which is tough for a guy who’s been in the league for a year and a half. According to a poll by Sporting News Magazine, Suh received 36 votes from the players as the dirtiest competitor in the league. James Harrison finished second with only 9 votes, significantly fewer than Suh.
He has gotten fined this year for hits to Andy Dalton, Jake Delhomme, and Jay Cutler, and has been brought into the Commissioner Roger Goodell’s office for a stern inspection of the rulebook. But his worst move came on the biggest stage this past week.
On Thanksgiving, the Lions played the Green Bay Packers in possibly the best NFL tradition of every year. This year has marked the first in years that the Lions were a pertinent team as far as making the playoffs is concerned, so the game was an important one for the league.
Suh disgraced the Lions and the NFL on live television as millions of people watched while feasting on turkey and stuffing. In a scrum with Green Bay’s Evan Dietrich-Smith, Suh slammed Dietrich-Smith’s head into the ground a couple times, followed by a malicious stomp on the arm while he was on the ground. Suh was ejected from the game after arguing with officials and his coach Jim Schwartz about his innocence. After the game, he claimed he was regaining his balance, not stomping on anyone.
Suh has since come out and apologized, but what’s done is done. Suh’s marketability is being severely hurt by his dirty play. Chrysler and Subway had no comments on the stomp, but it is clear that Suh’s behavior is unacceptable and will not go unnoticed by future sponsorship possibilities.