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Updated: September 10th, 2013 6:29pm
Zulgad: NFL drops the ball, fails to make example of Ndamukong Suh

Zulgad: NFL drops the ball, fails to make example of Ndamukong Suh

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by Judd Zulgad

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had the perfect opportunity to make a bold statement when it came to Ndamukong Suh's illegal block on John Sullivan during last Sunday's game.

But Goodell - a man who continually talks about the safety of players - swung and missed on his chance to make an example of the Detroit Lions' defensive tackle.

Yes, Suh was fined a hefty $100,000 for his low and completely unnecessary block following a Lions interception. ESPN reported the fine is the biggest in NFL history for an on-the-field incident.

It wasn't enough.

Suh has been fined repeatedly for questionable and/or dirty hits during his four seasons with the Lions.

He was suspended for two games in 2011 for stomping on Green Bay offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving Day. Last season, he was fined $30,000 for kicking Houston quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin on Thanksgiving Day.

In Suh, the NFL has a repeat offender and a player who has tried to injure opponents. That means they have the perfect man to make an example of at every turn.

The fact Suh is a key part of the Lions' defense is even more of a reason to do this. He has lost the right to ever receive the benefit of the doubt.

For this hit, the NFL should have fined Suh $100,000 and suspended him for one game.

The league should have then informed Suh that the next time he thinks about throwing a questionable block, stomping on someone or delivering a questionable hit that the fine will be $150,000 and the suspension will be two games.

The third time, he will be out $200,000 and the suspension will be three games.

This will give the Lions far more incentive to make sure that Suh cleans up his act and if he can't then he will cheap shot his way right out of the NFL.

Too bad.

This is a league that is running scared because the violence that so many love to watch has resulted in legal action that some feel threatens the long-term future of the product.

The issue is that while the NFL is doing everything in its power to eliminate concussions, which is impossible, it isn't doing enough to protect players from low hits.

Sullivan is lucky he didn't suffer a serious knee injury. The fact Suh apologized to him after the fact means little.

Suh's wallet might be a lot lighter, but the bottom line is that he will be free to take another cheap shot on Sunday when the Lions play at Arizona.

For that, the NFL has only itself to blame.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
In this story: John Sullivan