Ever wonder just who, exactly, is advising Suh? Is it his sister? A manager? His coaches? Or, is he ‘winging it’ on his own when it comes to communicating to and through the media? It appears to me that he could use some help.
Well-spoken and incredibly talented, Ndamukong Suh should be on the road to superstardom – revered by fans, respected by teammates (and opponents) and courted by an unending string of product endorsements. Instead, just a couple of years removed from college and the magical aura of the Number One Draft Pick, Suh is stumbling like a quarterback trying to escape his reach. The sports radio talk shows are inundated with fans who recognize his considerable skills but are puzzled by his continued problems both on and off the field – the latest his $30,000 fine for his (accidental?) kick to the groin of Texan quarterback Matt Schaub. (Suh, has given new meaning to the oft-heard Thanksgiving day phrase, “Give me a leg”).
So what does the future hold for the Lions defensive heavyweight? I would counsel him that the future could be bleak unless he makes corrective action now. Step 1: Start communicating. If his kung fu move last Thursday was indeed inadvertent, then he should have said so when asked that very day – not six days later. Step 2: Be prepared to handle the tough questions. When pushed last season by 97-1 The Ticket afternoon hosts “Valenti and Foster” on his Packer stomp, he cut the interview short. I don’t think he has appeared on the show since (I’m guessing his choice). Step 3: Exhibit honesty. If you did it, take responsibility, apologize and then don’t do it again. Last year’s kick happened. Suh still refuses to admit it. Step 4: Set an example. Suh needs to understand that he is looked at as a role model and now, more than ever, every move he makes is under a microscope. He needs to learn self-control, whether between the lines or behind the wheel. Step 5: Get used to the spotlight: While Suh is no doubt no stranger to being a public figure he is obviously troubled by public scrutiny. He can’t hide from it. He needs to address it head on.
I’m rooting for Ndamukong Suh and would actually relish the opportunity to work with him. What I perceive is an individual who says he is not troubled with his recently-crowned image as the NFL’s dirtiest player but clearly is. As a fan, one would like to see him continue to prove himself without the extracurriculars. As a fellow human being, one would also like to see him exorcise his inner demons toward redemption. Sometimes, the first step in accomplishing this is to talk about it.