Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lions' fans and fair questions

Fan loyalty to various teams and players has been around since the dawn of sports -- maybe even before Regis babbled his first words in public. It would probably be a fair statement to say without such loyalties, most sports wouldn't even exist. Sports need fans, and fans need teams and players to root for.

But there comes a time when fans should look in the mirror, ask themselves some questions, and give themselves some honest answers. This means you -- Detroit Lions' fans. Here's a few.....

After they went 10-6 last year (getting blown out in the first playoff game notwithstanding) did you really truly believe in your heart that they were a Super Bowl caliber team? Or that it was going to happen any year soon, for that matter? Do you honestly think you could pass a polygraph test if that question was posed to you?

Few would dispute that Ndamukong Suh is a polarizing figure across the spectrum of the NFL and it's fans. His teammates praise him, while a majority of the other players throughout the league think he's "dirty".

Suh's latest on-field incident of kicking Houston Texans' QB Matt Schaub in the groin is still being debated by many. Was it intentional or not? Nobody really knows the answer to that question except Suh himself. All the rest is just conjecture. (Yours truly highly doubts Mr. Suh is going to walk into the NFL offices anytime soon and submit to a lie-detector test regarding his latest alleged infraction.) In the end, the NFL decided not to suspend him yet again, but levy a $30,000 fine. Was that fair? It depends on how one wishes to look at it.

$30K in Suh's world is chump change. Had he been suspended and lost a "game check", that would have been several hundred thousand dollars. Suh is happy with the outcome, and well he should be, yet some of the Lions' faithful and homer media types still object. They miss the bigger picture.

Even if Suh's groin kick was an accident, somebody got hurt, thankfully not seriously, but "pain and suffering" due to "negligence" were involved just the same. The authorities in the NFL thoroughly reviewed the incident and basically gave Suh a "ticket". The point has been made by the Honolulu blue and silver spinmeisters that either it was intentional or not. If not, Suh shouldn't have been fined at all.

But here's the thing they don't want to consider. In the real world, if you cause an accident resulting in someone else being hurt, the "authorities" are going to look at your "record". If it's spotless, or even fairly clean, than you'll probably be given the benefit of the doubt. It was just an accident. Things happen. But if you've got a long rap sheet of similar behavior, the powers that be normally tend to view you in a different not-so-good light. Chances are, they'll put you under a microscope just looking for something, anything, they can bang you with. Guess which category Suh falls under? Perhaps that's not fair, but it's real and everybody knows it. Further, in Suh's case, ultimately whose fault is that anyway?

So here's the hard question Lions' fans really need to ask themselves. If Suh were playing for any other team, especially a division rival like Green Bay, Chicago, or Minnesota -- would you still be giving him the benefit of the doubt and defending him? Or would you be trashing him every which way you could, and want his head on a (goal)post? 

C'mon. At least be honest with yourself. Mirrors won't tell others, but they have a way of looking back and seeing right through you sometimes.

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