Ndamukong Suh has had a rough week. What began as hope in beating the undefeated Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving suddenly turned to shame and disappointment in Detroit’s up and coming football star. Things got worse after the game with an “explanation” of behavior that didn’t really sit well with…anyone. I don’t need to relive the drama from last week. I think everyone knows about it now.
What I’m more interested in is what lessons can be learned from this. Two things come to mind.
We all make mistakes. We’re human. Where most people often get hung up is admitting their mistakes and trying to make excuses. If you messed up, admit it. People will see right through the excuses but I’m of the opinion that people will respect you more if you just take responsibility for your actions.
Suh is 24 (soon to be 25) years old. At that age, are most people ready to lead? Suh has been given a great responsibility as a member of the Detroit Lions. Given the recent history of performance, his attitude is what the city of Detroit has needed in order to embrace change and shift in attitude with our Detroit Lions. He has automatically been given a leadership role but is he ready to grasp it? Given the events of last week, I’d say not. This city and this team are prepared to follow him but he’s just not ready.
Unfortunately for Ndamukong Suh, the labels are already being tattooed on him. The true test will be how he performs after his suspension and how he interacts with his team. I’m hopeful he has mentors on the team that will take him under their wing and have that man to man talk with him. In his post game interview, he mentioned “The Man upstairs.” I’m hopeful he has a faith in God that he can rely on for support.
How he acts on and off the field will be scrutinized now more than ever and people will look to cut him down at the first opportunity. My hope is that the lessons he learns from this can transform him into one of the most feared defensive linemen in the NFL and one of Detroit’s most revered leaders once his career ends. If you were to ask me who he should model himself after, I offer you the following example…
Bill Laimbeer got it done. Revered in Detroit and has 2 NBA championships to show for it. Ndamukong, time to grow up and learn from a Detroit legend.