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Suggs owes a genuine apology

With all of the negative publicity that the National Football League has endured in recent months, it would seem a reasonable expectation that all NFL employees, players in particular, would be on their best behavior. While we know that difficulties will inevitably emerge, it falls to grown men and women to behave as professionals to the very best of their ability. This is why events during the recent Ravens-Steelers game were so disheartening ("Ravens LB Terrell Suggs say he wasn't trying to hurt Steelers RB LeGarrette Blount," Nov. 3). By way of full disclosure, I am a black-and-gold wearing Steelers fan, having been raised in Pittsburgh, but I do not feel that this impacts my position on the issue.

During the second half, a positively sickening play was seen out of Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. By now most of your readers may know of the play, but for review, a Pittsburgh Steelers running back, LeGarrette Blount, was held up by multiple players and his forward progress had stopped. This is the point at which player safety becomes such a concern, particularly with very large men pushing and grappling with each other. Then came Mr. Suggs who lowered his helmet and shoulder into the back of Mr. Blount's hip/thigh area and drove his entire body weight through the leg. Had the hit been but six or eight inches lower, he could easily have destroyed Mr. Blount's knee and in a second ended his playing career.

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While there will be endless debate about whether it was thigh or hip, helmet or shoulder, the fact remains that these points are totally irrelevant. As a fan of the NFL, I was under the impression that players are taught to play aggressively, perhaps even with a viciousness that wouldn't be seen in other domains. However, the intent to injure another player is supposed to be unacceptable. Mr. Suggs' actions are reminiscent of other players in the league who have been tagged as "dirty" players. His reaction after the play was even more vile, indicating a total lack of professional and athletic decency.

Whether or not the NFL chooses to discipline Mr. Suggs, he owes a heartfelt apology and not one written for him by the Ravens organization. He owes it to the fans of the Ravens and the Steelers, to Mr. Blount, to the players on both teams and to the NFL as a whole.

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Jason Spiegelman, Pikesville

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