4 Things We Can Learn From Ndamukong Suh About Accountability


It’s the middle of September, that means football has returned for the long haul. Week 1 of the NFL regular season is in the books, while nearly everyone around the league and fans everywhere can be happy, one player might not be so happy.

That player is Ndamukong Suh. Suh was fined $100,000 for an illegal block on the opposing team last Sunday. Even though his team won the game, he clearly wasn’t acting like the leader, the four-year pro and defensive captain that he is.

Suh is a player who has quintessentially acted like a selfish jerk since day one in the NFL. Given all that has happened in his young career, you would think Suh would have learned his lesson already. You would think he would have altered his behavior. You would think he would learn to channel whatever impulses change him from a mild-mannered man off the field to an occasionally out-of-control athlete on it. But apparently, Suh hasn’t.

He slammed Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith’s head into the ground three times and stomped on his right arm on Thanksgiving two seasons ago. The NFL suspended Suh for two games for that. Last Thanksgiving, Suh kicked Schaub in the groin. The league did not suspend Suh but fined him $30,000 for that.

Four things stood out to me that Ndamukong Suh wasn’t doing that he could have done better.

1.  Give honest, sincere appreciation. Ever since coming into the league Suh has acted with pure disregard for other players. Suh belittles and undermines other players around him by kicking his co-workers in the groin or stomping on their head rather than giving honest, sincere appreciation. The latter behavior would have been respecting that the play was over and that the other guys are probably as tired and frustrated as he was.

2. Arouse in the other person an eager want. As a football professional, Suh is constantly required to prove himself and his talent. Other players, and executives must buy in to his skills for their own reasons. If he gave coaches, for example, a reason for how his skills could benefit the team, they might welcome him. Instead, the Detroit Lions are stuck protecting a troublemaker, which affects their team.
3.  If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. So Suh has acted out, becoming physically violent and sometime vocal about it. Rather than admit his mistake, that is illegally blocking a player or kicking him in the groin, him and his teammates continue to make excuses for his play. Teammate, Dominic Raiola said of Suh’s illegal block in week 1, “I don’t know if he really went down,” Raiola said. “I think he kind of hit him on the hip and fell. … That’s out of my hands.” He made a mistake, just admit it!

4.  Appeal to nobler motives. Most people will work very hard for ideals and the higher aims of the organization, in this case, a pro football team, if they know what they are and how they apply in a particular situation. Suh clearly has no noble motives and the Lions don’t attempt to enforce their ideals upon him, though.

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