The process of deciding Suh’s penalty
We’ve talked a lot about "completing the process" over the past two years.
Normally when I say that, I’m referring to a pass reception. This time, however, I’m talking about a crass reception that Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh might have gotten if he were to show up at the NFL offices in New York on Monday.
Because that’s when the disciplinary meeting will be held to decide if Suh will be suspended for stomping Green Bay’s Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thursday.
I should know, because I used to run that meeting every week as the NFL’s vice president of officiating. So let me explain how this other process will work on Monday at 9 a.m. ET.
Carl Johnson, the current VP of officiating, will run the meeting. Also likely to be in attendance will be Jeff Pash (executive vice president), Ray Anderson (executive vice president of football operations) and Merton Hanks (vice president of football operations), among others. Suh won’t be the only topic of conversation; the group also will take a look at the big hits and other controversial plays from Week 12. But I’m sure Suh will be the most talked about.
They’ll focus on two main questions: Suh’s history of discipline issues and if there is any precedent for a stomping action.
The answers to both aren’t pretty.
As history goes, Suh has committed nine personal fouls since entering the league in 2010, more than any other player during that time, and has already been fined three times this season for a total of $42,500.
And Albert Haynesworth takes care of the precedent. In 2006, when Haynesworth played for the Tennessee Titans, he was suspended for an unprecedented five games for stepping on the head of Dallas center Andre Gurode.
Since Roger Goodell took over as NFL commissioner in 2006, he’s suspended only five players for on-field actions, and only Haynesworth got more than one game. I think most people are in agreement that Suh’s actions were not as egregious as Haynesworth’s, therefore, I doubt he’ll get five games.
So if the first group recommends a suspension for Suh on Monday, there would be a follow-up meeting soon afterward that most likely would include Goodell. If suspended, Suh probably wouldn’t be fined but most likely would be suspended without pay. Suh averages a little more than $80,000 per game, so depending on how many games, it could be very costly for the second-year player.
If Suh is suspended, he can appeal, but it’s unlikely the two men at the league office who would decide any leniency (Art Shell and Ted Cottrell) would take long to make a decision. We should have a final decision by Tuesday at the latest.
Some other factors to consider:
With Suh’s ejection coming early in the third quarter Thursday, the league will take into account that Suh has already missed nearly half a game.
They will probably talk with Suh’s coach, Jim Schwartz, who, coincidentally, was the Titans’ defensive coordinator at the time of Haynesworth’s suspension. If there’s a suspension involved, they’d probably also talk with DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association.
Whatever gets decided when the process is over this week, I hope Suh gets the message. He’s too talented a player to let the things he’s been doing on the field get the best of him.