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NFL needs to show tough love to repeat offenders

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If I were Art Shell, I would listen very carefully Thursday to Ndamukong Suh’s appeal of his two-game suspension — and then I’d up it to three games, just for having the gall to appeal. And I say this as someone who root-root-roots for the Detroit Lions.

Suh should have taken his lumps for his Thanksgiving Day misbehavior and given thanks that those lumps weren’t worse. Two games seemed appropriate, even restrained, given the fact that he banged Green Bay’s Evan Dietrich-Smith’s head into the turf twice and then stomped on him. And then, after the game, he lied about what he had done, saying he was trying to keep his balance.

No one looking at the replay bought that story. When even his own team called him on it, he quickly revised his version to the usual “I’m sorry; I don’t know what got into me.” That part may be true; Suh is so confused by his own behavior that he called himself on the commissioner’s carpet — that thing must be threadbare by now — to have Roger Goodell explain to him why everyone thinks he’s a dirty player.

So this is all Goodell’s fault.

Of course, this won’t happen. Suh will make his appeal, it will surely be denied, and he’ll sit out two games without pay — which he can afford, because his $68 million contract guarantees him at least $40 million. What the Lions can’t afford is losing their star for two games when they are trying to stay in the hunt for the NFC wild-card berth.

And then there’s the curious case of Buffalo’s Stevie Johnson, who pantomimed shooting himself in the thigh after a touchdown catch Sunday. He was, of course, mocking New York Jets receiver Plaxico Burress, whose actual self-inflicted gunshot wound led to two years in prison for him.

We can agree that going to a New York City nightclub with a gun in your sweatpants and having that gun discharge in your own thigh doesn’t rank high on the list of the smartest things an athlete has ever done. But Burress did hard time for his stupidity. If every dope in the NFL were forced to do the same, our Sundays would be pretty bleak.

Take, for instance, Johnson. His improv cost the Bills a 15-yard penalty, which led to a Jets touchdown in a game the Jets eventually won. So if you’re a Bills fan, Johnson’s stage show was a real thigh-slapper.

Johnson, who also was fined $10,000 by the league, is the same genius who a year ago blamed God after he dropped a pass in an overtime loss. The only reason he hasn’t been struck by lightning in the past 12 months is that the Almighty has better things to do than waste time following Stevie Johnson on Twitter.

Personally, I prefer the end zone theatrics of Fred Davis, who apparently was trying to engage us in a game of charades after his touchdown catch Sunday in Seattle. He pantomimed a gesture that apparently meant, “Feed me, feed me, feed me.” I thought it was a movie camera and that he was going for a film title, but we never got to see how many words. Either way as long he doesn’t do “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” he should be safe.

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