That depends on who's doing the talking. Hard-core Detroit Lions' fans think he's merely aggressive, a good thing for a defensive lineman. Problem is -- the rest of the country seems to disagree. The talking heads have been all over it. Sports columnists not associated with the Detroit area have ripped him. The NFL has fined him repeatedly. One would be hard-pressed to argue Suh isn't on a lot of people's radar screens, and not in a good way.
This is not to single out Suh. Dick Butkus was a wrecking machine for the Bears. Chicago loved him. Everybody else hated him. Recently, James Harrison of the Steelers grabbed a lot of notoriety. "Terrible towels" waved their support in Pittsburgh. No one else seemed to be amused. There's been lots of others over the years. Normally, home town fans will stand behind their players, even if it means putting on the blinders to the obvious. Others that are more objective might see things in a completely different way.
Now Suh has requested an audience with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to, supposedly, get a better understanding of the rules. This is a bad omen -- possibly on a few fronts.
First, it's brought even more national attention to him. Second, he's tacitly admitting there's a problem. Third, he'll likely be in a room with people a whole lot smarter than he is, if and when this meeting ever happens. Fourth, if he wanted to get off the collective radar screen, going to NY to meet with the brain-trust of the NFL is not the way to do it.
How would this meeting be interpreted? These days perception has a nasty habit of becoming reality. On one hand, Suh could be perceived as being genuinely concerned about the finer points of playing his position. Yet on the other, he might come off as being the only player that doesn't seem to understand the rules. Who knows? I would humbly suggest all he needs do is follow a few simple commandments to make the problem go away.
Thou shalt not pick up an opposing quarterback, turn him upside down, and deposit him on his head.
Thou shalt not grab the facemask of an opposing player and try to wring his neck like a chicken.
Thou shalt not make helmet-to helmet contact with the above mentioned QB. Especially from the "blind" side.
When said QB has already thrown the ball, thou shalt put on the brakes. Unavoidable contact is allowed. Attempting to make the QB forever part of mother earth is not acceptable.
Thou has been blessed with the ability to find thy way around 325 pound offensive linemen. Thou shalt use the same ability to avoid all other opponents, especially ball-carriers, after the whistle has blown.
Here's wishing Ndamukong the best of luck with his meeting in NY, and hopefully it all works out to everyone's satisfaction.
So is he a dirty player or just misunderstood with good intentions?
I dunno. Johnny Cash probably said it best.
Life can be rough for a boy named Suh.