Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Blogger Blitz: $30K for an 'inadvertent' act?
By Kevin Seifert
Ndamukong Suh said Wednesday that his kick to the groin of Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub happened "inadvertently." Lions coach Jim Schwartz said the same thing Monday.
So here's a fair question to ask: If the NFL believed them, why did it fine Suh $30,000 this week for the incident?
As we discussed Monday and commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday, neither the league nor anyone else can infer intent with certainty. We can all look at various angles of the play; Suh is prone and looking away from Schaub when his left leg extends twice and finally makes contact with the quarterback. Some of us saw that and recognized how difficult it would be for someone to do intentionally. Others will see the second clutch and wonder how random the act could possibly be.
It's clear to me the league took into consideration Suh's history, including his initial denial of intent when he stomped Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith last season, and couldn't fully rule out that it was an intentional act.
Wednesday was the first time Suh had addressed the incident publicly, and here is how he explained it: "I was being dragged to the ground, and my foot inadvertently hit the man."
If he was asked about the second clutch, I'm not aware of his answer. Tuesday, Schwartz said he didn't see a second clutch on the replay.
Some of you have already noted that the league often fines players for acts that aren't intentional, such as Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins' helmet-to-helmet hit on Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler earlier this month. But I don't see the symmetry in the examples.
Dobbins clearly initiated the contact that resulted in the hit, even if he wasn't intentionally targeting Cutler's helmet. If Suh's contact was inadvertent, and thus uninitiated by him, there wouldn't be anything to fine him for. If the NFL has a policy of disciplining players whose flailing body parts randomly hit opponents during the course of a collision, then I'm not aware of it.
But as you can see in this week's Blogger Blitz video, I can identify where Suh is coming from. There is no doubt his history has played a role in this public discussion. In the end, though, we can't assign intent without his admission. And clearly, Suh isn't going there. What's done is done.