I’m not going to mince words here, which I understand is kind of a departure, and . . . oh shit, too late already, huh? Anyway, sorry. I should say instead that I won’t be too clever here because sometimes simplicity is what’s called for, a cold hard truth bomb that needs to be dropped on everybody before the terminal case of the stupids gets too out of hand. Clearly, I’ve already failed in my quest for simplicity and in the process set a new record for the earliest appearance of utter drivel but, hey, fuck it, strange and terrible times, these things happen, blah blah blah . . .
Shit, let’s just start over again, shall we? Okay. Here it goes: this Ndamukong Suh thing is fucking stupid.
There. I suppose I should probably elaborate, especially since all of you are probably nodding your head in agreement, allowing yourselves to believe that I’m referring to only those idiot souls you disagree with, but here’s the thing: in the wake of our man Suh stomping the shit out of a hapless Green Bay Packer, everyone has acted like a goddamn fool, on every side of the issue, from Suh to Sheriff Goodell to you, to me and everyone in between. This is because there are no winners here, only horrible, horrible losers and pea-brained fools and that is why this story sucks, sucks, sucks and will suck forever.
Let’s start with the man himself, Ndamukong Suh. What he did was fucking idiotic. Really, you don’t need to go much further than that. Understand this: I’m not upset about what he actually did. In the grand scheme of things, who cares? I’ve been stepped on before, kicked a few times, once or twice even in anger, and you know what? In the end, each time was kind of funny actually. I mean, who the fuck gets so mad that they actually kick someone? That’s some spastic five year old shit right there. If anything, for the actual offense, Ndamukong Suh deserves to get laughed at, not treated like Hannibal Lecter. I mean, come on, in a game which encourages grown men to bludgeon each other dozens of times every week, and in which 45 year old men end up wandering the street, drooling like decimated zombies because their brains have been turned to pudding thanks to said bludgeonings, a dude getting his arms or legs or whatever stomped on isn’t really a big deal. Shit, I’ve done what Ndamukong Suh did on Thanksgiving and nobody acted like I was some sort of monster. Instead, they just gave me a spanking, took away my Transformers and GI Joes and then sent me to my room to think about what I did. Granted, that was just last week and my landlord felt weird about spanking me but he and I both understood justice needed to be done.
Okay, enough of that. The point is, is that what Ndamukong Suh did was childish and stupid and in response he deserves to be mocked and called an idiot, not treated like the scourge of Western Civilization. If anything, he – and all of us – should just feel embarrassed. He didn’t act like Attila the Hun, he acted like Attila’s four year old nephew after he got his toy wooden horsey taken away.
But none of that really pisses me off or sends me into GOOD HEAVENS THE OUTRAGE territory. No, what pisses me off is that after I got done writing a whole piece about how the Lions should embrace their Bad Boy image and in which I made sure to state how important it was that the Lions did this in a smart controlled way, Ndamukong Suh went and did something profoundly stupid, something that fucked up the whole damn game, sapped the life from his own team and caused his own fans to wither in the face of their own shrieking souls, dying in the face of the memory of a million different Oh Man, The Lions moments, all of which were suddenly dragged kicking and screaming back to the forefront by Ndamukong Suh’s retarded stomp heard round the world.
Indeed. Had Ndamukong Suh waited until the end of the game and then curbstomped a Packer or two, I’d probably be cracking jokes and telling the people of Wisconsin to quit being so soft. But he didn’t. Instead, he did it at a crucial juncture in the game, following a key third down stop, which would have held the Packers to a field goal instead of a touchdown and which would have kept the Lions within striking distance. Instead, the Packers were given a first down inside the five yard line, Suh was throwing a hissy fit on the sideline and soon, the Lions were down by 14. Only a few plays later, Matthew Stafford threw an interception, and one play after that Aaron Rodgers stuck a dagger in our hearts with a long touchdown strike to James Jones. Ballgame. Thanks for coming. Don’t choke on your turkey.
Fuck you, Ndamukong Suh. Fuck you. That may sound overly harsh, but I’ve spent way too goddamn long watching my dudes do shit like this. The Packers weren’t intimidated or even angry about what Suh did. Instead, they just rolled their eyes and laughed at him, laughed at all of us, just like an entire nation did. Again. You want to know why the Lions are “The Lions” and all that horrible, horrible phrase means? Then watch that fucking play again. Feel the sheer, terrible stupidity of it. Kick ass like a man. Don’t throw a fit like a petulant little boy. Look, I’m a fan of Ndamukong Suh, a big fan, but I’m not going to ignore reality just to placate my fandom. That kind of fandom, which rejects all criticism, is fundamentally weak, fragile and afraid. It refuses to acknowledge truth because it can’t handle it. I’m a fan of Ndamukong Suh but in this case, Ndamukong Suh was a goddamn fool and I can say that because my fandom is strong enough to handle it.
And as for everyone else? Recognize the distinction between kicking ass like a man and throwing a fit like a little boy, okay? Suh didn’t behave like a badass who wasn’t going to take any of the Packers shit. He acted like a damn fool. Like I said, he didn’t intimidate the Packers. He didn’t scare them with his big bad self. Instead, he lashed out like a four year old, they laughed at him and then ripped out our hearts. That’s just that cold hard bitch known as Truth rearing her ugly, cruel head one more time.
And that brings me to everyone else. When things like this happen, whenever anything goes wrong, the whole world goes stupid and this is no exception. Right now, you have a host of Lions fans echoing the screaming banshee wails of the rest of the quiver-lipped public, demanding that Ndamukong Suh be drawn and quartered for his outrageous villainy. These people need to calm the fuck down. He stepped on a dude. That’s it. Laugh at him. Any other response is complete overkill, a maelstrom of dumb noise which just gets in the way of the real issue here, which is that the timing of Suh’s offense is what, well, causes the most offense. Again, I don’t really care that he stepped on a dude. So what? What I care about is the fact that he stepped on a dude when he should have known better. What I care about is that he invited all this nonsense with his willful indifference to the concept of responsibility – not to his opponent or the fans or to some grotesque caricature of morality, but to his team and to himself and to an idea that the Lions are a real, live football team and not just a collection of dysfunctional fuckups, which is, sadly, the way everyone sees them right now.
On the other hand, you have the LEAVE HIM ALONE HE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG crowd, which . . . come on. Ndamukong Suh is not being persecuted here. The dude fucked up. This is undeniable and to try to deny it makes you look desperate and hysterical. It’s a function of psychological martyrdom, of being so beaten over the years that the idea of personal responsibility is unfathomable. To admit that Ndamukong Suh was wrong is to admit a certain vulnerability, a vulnerability which requires emotional strength, strength which as fans we just don’t have. Instead, it’s easier – and necessary for too many of us – to cling to the ghost of an idea, to some terrible illusion, that we are being systematically fucked over and that anything and everything bad that happens to us is somehow the result of some bizarre witch hunt. Has Ndamukong Suh taken an unfair amount of heat since he stepped into the league? Absolutely. Has this affected how officials deal with him? Absolutely. But here’s the thing – he stomped on a dude. What do you want to hear? He stomped on a dude. That’s a pretty black and white thing, not open to much interpretation. Yeah, it’s kind of silly, and to genuinely treat it like it’s something that matters is vaguely stupid and reflective of a certain sort of dumb hysteria which infects the very idea of morality like some terrible rotting disease but that is a completely separate – and ultimately irrelevant – argument than the one which matters, which is this: Ndamukong Suh stomped on a dude on national television with everyone watching and that will always – always – get you thrown in football jail. Everything else is just dumb noise.
Which brings me to those morality policemen disguised as the mass media, who latched onto this story like dogs on a peanut butter covered bone. Screw them. It’s not at all surprising and in its banal predictability it is sort of soul crushing and depressing, but as soon as that stomp happened and Suh ended up on the sideline pitching a fit, you could practically feel the slobber dripping from their lips. They couldn’t wait to blather on and on and on about Adolf Suh or to openly speculate about how many games Ndamukong Hitler should be suspended for, which in turn shaped the soft little minds of millions and millions of idiot fans who then took to twitter with their own incessant nattering and pretty soon the whole world had reached a consensus – Pol Pot Suh had to be suspended for two games. Why two? Who knows? Such is the frustrating vagary of public opinion. I guess we should all just be thankful that they didn’t demand that Sheriff Goodell publically lynch him.
And that brings me to the Sheriff himself, that lackwitted coward with his tin star on his chest. It’s no secret that I’m, uh, not a fan of Sheriff Goodell. I think he’s a terrible commissioner, a man who somehow can’t keep people happy in a multi-billion dollar sports league, a dude who almost threatened to derail the most popular sports league – hell, the most popular entity – in America because Jerry Jones was whispering in his ear about how he needed more gold plated toilets in his Sodom and Gomorrah of a stadium. The man is an ineffectual nitwit. But worse than that is his arbitrary and tyrannical style of rule, a freewheeling desperate sort of style which tries to please everybody and ultimately pleases nobody, sucking the dick of public opinion while somehow simultaneously ignoring it. In the end, it’s little more than anarchy. When it comes to the integrity of the league, the good Sheriff doesn’t seem to give a shit. Make Jerry Jones and his ilk happy. That’s it. That’s all he seems to care about. When it comes to everything else, he’s like some degenerate Roman Emperor, leaving the fate of his gladiators in the hands of the fickle public. If they scream loud enough, he’ll change rules on the fly. He’ll fine people for wearing the wrong shoes. He’ll sentence someone else to death for a big hit and then turn around and sell video clips of that same big hit because he knows that people are insane and that they will gibber about player safety one minute and then demand blood the next. Sheriff Goodell is a shitty commissioner because there are no rules. There is no law. There is just dumb noise and it rules everything. And since the dumb noise decreed that Ndamukong Amin deserved a two game suspension, the commissioner gave him a two game suspension. There is no reason behind it, no real justification, just a shrug of the shoulders and a “Hey, why not?” kind of decision making that is both capricious and utterly maddening. And in the end, it could end up fucking the Lions and all of us. Random obliteration. And all that’s left is to either rage against the randomness of the universe itself or to pick meaningless fights which manage to give us something tangible to scream at, lest we face the terrible and ugly truth, that depressing and soul crushing truth, which is that these are indeed strange and terrible times and sometimes these things just happen.
In the end, everyone has been debased by this stupid story. Ndamukong Suh looks like a thug to most and even those who reject that sort of simplistic reductionism see him as something akin to an emotionally unstable fool. This is a shitty, shitty thing. The fans look like fools too, either clinging to some hysterical and random notion of morality in the midst of a world built on violence or defending the equivalent of a four year old’s hissy fit. And the Sheriff and his NFL have once again displayed their ineptitude, their slavish devotion to laziness and a pimp’s greed getting in the way of ever addressing anything with any sort of common sense. And I have been debased by my own grief, both indignant and heartbroken, because one of my favorite players fucked up and fucked up in a way which was inexcusably stupid. Again, it has nothing to do with what he actually did, and everything to do with the horrible, horrible timing of it. I’m sad not because Ndamukong Suh stomped on a dude but because he stomped on a dude at the worst possible time. I’m sad because in doing so he revealed a fundamental, critical and possibly fatal flaw – in a game which is determined mainly by which dudes can best control and effectively channel their emotions, Ndamukong Suh has shown that he is either incapable or unwilling to do so. That’s why I’m sad. That’s why I’m pissed. Because for as talented as he is, what Ndamukong Suh did was what a loser does. What he did was what the Detroit Lions as a franchise have done for more than half a century now. He let himself get baited, like a dumb fish, and then he was hooked and the fisherman who got him was able to walk away laughing with his friends, while Suh flopped around on the hook and then died. That’s the reason I’m mad and that’s the only reason. Everything else is just dumb, meaningless noise.
The bottom line is this: Ndamukong Suh has been lost for two games – well, two and a half games if you count Thanksgiving and, hey, why not? – and it’s his own damn fault. He left his fate in the hands of an insane system and still he and far too many Lions fans are trying to play the martyr card. If the loss to the Packers proved one thing and one thing only, it’s this: the Lions need to grow the fuck up. This doesn’t mean that they need to become model citizens the Sheriff can be proud of. It means that they need to be in control of and responsible for their own emotions. I want them to be the ones who make the other team flip out. I want them to be the ones who mock and taunt and physically ruin the other team and throw them off of their games. On Thanksgiving, the only team that flipped out and the only team thrown off of its game was the Lions. On Thanksgiving, Ndamukong Suh wasn’t a Bad Boy, he was just a Boy. And that’s that.