If Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh feels unfairly characterized at times, there is a good reason why.
Suh is best known for his aggressive play on the field. The majority of NFL observers are aware of his $100,000 fine by the NFL for an illegal block on Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan in Week 1. Suh was not fined for a Week 2 elbow to the head of Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Eric Winston. He has been fined for his over-the-top actions during Detroit’s past two Thanksgiving Day games.
It is fair to say Suh deserved criticism for those indiscretions, but the praise for his generosity rarely garners attention.
Last week Suh invited Nolen Beasley, 16, and Alvonte Bridges, 17, who play defense for the Bloomfield Hills High School Black Hawks in Michigan, to watch the Lions' game against the Bears inside Suh’s private suite at Ford Field, according to The Detroit News. Both young men are deaf, and after Suh read an article about them last week, the football player extended an invitation.
Here is The Detroit News’ account of what led to the invite:
“Nolen and Alvonte became Suh’s invited guests after Suh read a story in Friday’s Detroit News profiling the young athletes. In the story Nolen said he wanted to ask Suh how he deals with the double team. Suh pondered the question.
“He decided the best way to answer the question was for them to watch the action in person, where they could see the double teams and triple teams,” said Ngum Suh, his sister and business manager.
“So Suh’s sister arranged for the athletes, their interpreter and George Beasley to be the defensive tackle’s guests.”
This is not Suh’s first act of kindness.
Suh was named the sixth most charitable celebrity in 2011 by The Giving Back Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides philanthropic management and consulting to the sports and entertainment industries. He reportedly donated $2.6 million to various charities in 2010. He recently donated $250,000 to his former high school to build a new field because the football team was was forced to play all of their home games on the road due to of unsafe field conditions.
Skeptics will say Suh’s recent gift was a public relations ploy. Some will prefer to focus on his aggressiveness on the football field. Others may change their view of Suh.
Regardless, Bridges and Beasley enjoyed what may have been a once in a lifetime experience.
“I really enjoyed this a lot,” Alvonte told The Detroit News. “Way to go Suh, and thanks a lot for inviting me to your suite.”
“I’m so glad the Lions won,” Nolen told The Detroit News. “And thank you so much, Ndamukong Suh, for making this happen for us.”
Suh appears to have a good side.
It would be nice if everyone saw it more often.