According to a survey conducted by Nielsen and partner E-Poll Market Research for Forbes magazine, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is the fourth most-disliked athlete in the United States of America.
Kind of leaves you wondering what Team Suh must be thinking? They’ve tirelessly tried to cultivate this image of a nasty, fire-breathing behemoth on the field and a gigantic, loveable teddy bear off it.
What makes Suh’s fall from grace even more shocking is, only four months ago, he led the Nielsen survey of the NFL’s most-liked players. Suh wasn’t No. 4; he was No. 1.
Forbes points out that Suh’s infamous stomp of Green Bay lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving was the incident that sullied his reputation.
Certainly it was the catalyst, but what tarnished Suh’s image was not the stomp — some players tend to lose it during the heat of competition, which is understandable, if not acceptable — it was how he handled his national TV meltdown afterward.
During this offseason, Suh has appeared on television shows and done in-depth interviews to repair his damaged image. He might be loved in Detroit, but nationally it’s a different story.
And that has to be what’s most troubling to Team Suh. Ndamukong Suh apparently wants to be a national celebrity, not a local one. He envisions a world of Suh dominance, which is not uncommon for a young man that has achieved wealth and fame.
But what makes Suh such a great football player — a gritty, in-your-face attitude – doesn’t translate well when he isn’t on the field. He’s young and unpolished. He’s not witty or a really skilled conversationalist, which is fine.
As the Forbes article points out, Suh is young enough to regain his reputation, as long as he toes the line from here on out. He has plenty of time to become the worldwide personality he desires to be.
Unfortunately for Suh, he strikes me as being too impatient to let time be one of his allies. Perhaps it’s because everything has come quickly to him up until this point.
That’s why I’m not so sure that this survey is going to be a wake-up call for Suh.
Because, when you look at the other nine names on the disliked athlete list — Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Plaxico Burres, Kris Humphries, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Terrell Owens, Alex Rodriguez and Kurt Bush — I get the impression that Suh will embrace being associated with a majority of these names as an indication that Ndamukong has unequivocally arrived.