Heres the lesson.
Just say youre sorry.
Why is that so hard for some people -- especially one of the strongest people on the planet?
Move over, Mel Gibson and Bill Clinton. You have company on the list of the lamest apologies of all time.
Ndamukong Suh was suspended for two games by the NFL on Tuesday and there are two parallel reactions:
I believe that he got one of those games for his post-game, post-stomp press gathering when he said absolutelynothingofvalue.
Wouldnt you think someone on the Lions staff who has some experience in public relations would have pulled Suh aside and asked, Ok, what are you thinking about saying here?
Which would have been followed by a gasp and then, Please, dear God, dont say that.
There should be an understanding that a nationally televised broadcast will provide video proof that you werent just trying
to (and Im using the quote fingers here) regain your balance by thrusting your foot into the arm of a guy whose head you
had just angrily driven thrice into the turf.
The later Facebook, umm, clarification rang fairly hollow after these post-game comments:
I was on top of a guy being pulled down and trying to get up off the ground, which is why you see me pushing his helmet down, Suh said. As Im getting up, Im getting pushed, so Im getting myself unbalanced.
"With that a lot of people are going to interpret it as or create their own storylines ... but I know what I did, and the man upstairs knows what I did.
Roger Goodell just smiled after being referred to as the man upstairs.
You could almost see this coming as the Lions and their fan base celebrated the new status as football's Bad Boys. The new
rally cry became, Were not going to get pushed around any more! -- borrowed from, I believe, the Crips.
In the National Football League, its a fine line between physical play and assault, as it is. With this Lions team that line became fine and blurred.
Apparently, Suh knows the hot-line number to the commissioner. After a private audience with Goodell a couple of weeks ago to make sure everyone was on the same page as to whats legal and whats mayhem (Did they not cover stomping?), Suh took another proactive step by calling Goodell over the weekend.
But thats a bit like breaking curfew and calling your parents on the way home to check in. Youre still going to get it when you get home.
And as it was with you and your parents, Suh is being grounded.
No football for two weeks, young man. Door-slam. You just think about what you did!
Oh, and you lose 165,000 in "allowance."
Suh had been fined before, and losing money clearly didnt affect his ability to maintain composure on the field. But successful coaches will tell you, you take away a guys playing time and THAT will get his attention.
Suh is not only under the microscope of the league and every official within it but also that of his teammates. Theyre a team whose great start has eroded and now are on the very edge of missing the playoffs.
You dont think there will be teammates looking at arguably their best player sideways now if they finish a game out because he wasnt there for two of their last five?
That is pressure. And there should be no doubt that now Suh's attention has been gained.
Suh is an intelligent, charming young man off the field. Thats where hell be while his teammates are on it, for two successive Sundays.
He owns the right to appeal, of course, but based on his post-game apology, probably not the ability in this instance.
Take the medicine, swallow hard, get back, get focused.
Elton John was right.
Sorry seems to be the hardest word.