(UPDATED: 10:40 p.m. with White comments.)
Please excuse Ndamukong Suh if he is not well-versed in what’s considered acceptable behavior for an NFL player. Turns out, he may not even know the names of many NFL players.
Suh, the Detroit Lions’ defensive tackle who reportedly taunted injured Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan Sunday, fired back Monday, telling Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: “Do I need Rodney White’s respect? No. Leave it at that.”
In fairness to Suh, he’s right. He doesn’t need Rodney White’s respect, whoever Rodney White is. The assumption is he doesn’t care about earning Roddy White’s respect, either.
This all started Sunday when White,Todd McClure and other Falcons said they heard Suh, Cliff Avril and possibly other Detroit linemen taunting Ryan when he was lying on the field. One of White’s comments: “Like 92 [Avril] was kicking [Ryan’s] feet, saying, ‘Get him off the field.’ We don’t do stuff like that. We don’t rally over guys when they get hurt. It was just inappropriate behavior. I mean, [Suh said] ‘Get the cart’? Are you serious? Come on. When you compete, you never want to see a guy get hurt.”
Neither Avril nor Suh were available for comment after the game. Avril took to Twitter Sunday night to deny the accusations: “Come on. I’m not in the business of hurting not one guy on the field… I would never taunt anyone on an injury.”
Suh’s comments Monday came from Burkett’s Twitter site. He reaffirmed what most know — that he doesn’t seem to care what anybody thinks about him — and he also took a shot at Falcons’ offensive linemen. The comments:
• Referring to the fact Ryan tripped over Falcons tackle Will Svitek: “To me it’s karma. For all the bad stuff they’ve done in the past, their offensive lineman hurt their own QB. So I’ll leave it at that”
• His quasi-denial: “I’m not even near their quarterback so how am I going to trash talk somebody that has a medical staff that’s all around him?”
• The slap: “Do I need Rodney White’s respect? No. Leave it at that.”
• He also called it, “He said/she said.” As Burkett noted, Suh never identified the “she.”
UPDATE: Here are some comments from White to the NFL Network, via ProFootballTalk.com:
“I mean I don’t really have much to say about what [Ndamukong Suh] said. I just know he’s going to say whatever he wants to say, but we know what they said. We were standing right there in the huddle, we saw when he went down and that’s before the medical staff got there that they said was in front of the play. . . .
“I know Suh said what he said. He said, ‘Go get the cart for him, get him out of here.’ He knows he said that and we’re not going to go back and forth about what he said-she said. And then he’s going to say it was karma for what we’ve done in the past when their quarterback gets hurt on the last play of the game and they have an MRI today.”
OK, this is a he said/he said. But Suh had been gaining a negative reputation in the league even before Sunday. So if this is a credibility contest, he’s probably going to lose.
By Jeff Schultz