November 27th, 2013 | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: Sports

Ndamukong Suh Destroyed Soccer in Portland

ndamukong_suh_nflNdamukong Suh - Wikipedia Commons

OK, so that headline isn't totally fair.

But then the entire point of this Grantland essay, timed to Thursday's turkey-day football games, is that stories about Grant High School star-turned-Detroit Lions lineman Ndamukong Suh are always unfair.

Jordan Conn offers "a 13-step guide to trashing Ndamukong Suh"—in short, it's a profile organized around the cheap shots of other profiles.

Suh has been typecast as a dirty player ever since the 2011 Thanksgiving Day game when he stomped on a Green Bay Packer. The essay argues that's a disingenuous narrative.

And it contains some fun tidbits about Suh's formative Portland years, including how he wrecked soccer havoc as a (not-so-) small child:

"I always loved to tear stuff apart," he says.

This is perfect because it establishes a lifelong theme of destruction — Suh ripping to pieces whatever object, human or inanimate, happened to be within grasp. Toss in some examples and you'll be rolling. There was the time he yanked out the parts of the family telephone. How about his onetime hobby of building toy Ferris wheels with K'Nex, just so he could smash them to pieces? Even as Suh got older and started playing soccer, his kicks broke the miniature goals.

Now you can move straight into the way he played youth sports — a mass of fast-twitch devastation who marauded his way up the court and down the field. Other kids just bounced off him, Suh remembers, and adults looked at his miles-apart shoulders and his immigrant parents, and they demanded, "Show us his birth certificate." So Bernadette Suh did. Her boy was born in 1987, just like everyone else in his league. "He's not too old," she told them. "He's just big."

At the risk of typifying exactly the kind of hatchet-job publications this article is deploring, it's strange that Conn doesn't mention the best piece of ammunition for a writer bent on demonizing Ndamukong.

That would be the conflicting accounts from Suh's car crash in Old Town in December 2011—when he slammed his 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle into a tree, light pole and Benson Bubbler water fountain outside Dante's.

 
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