Suh looks to make Newton and the Panthers eat their words

Ndamukong Suh is a three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions.

Ndamukong Suh is a three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions.

The National Football League has had a Pac Man, so why not Donkey Kong?

Except Adam Jones wanted to be called “Pac Man,” whereas Detroit Lions’ defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh isn’t looking for a vintage arcade game nickname. If he was he might prefer Defender.

Cam Newton, the quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, tried to make a joke this week during a media session. He kept referring to Suh as “Donkey Kong,” repeating the phrase five times in advance of this Sunday’s game against the Lions in Charlotte. Newton apparently thinks it’s a humorous pun on Suh’s name and he also doesn’t seem to realize that it’s racially insensitive to compare a black man to a gorilla. Since Newton is black himself it’s not going to be a controversy, but there’s no telling how Suh is going to take it. So far the big defensive lineman has been silent on the subject. But come Sunday, I’ll guarantee you that Suh will be making his way to introduce himself to Newton, and it won’t be under the name “Donkey Kong.”

Suh isn’t easily intimidated, and he actually enjoys the role of villain on the road.

“Honestly, I love playing away games,” told on Wednesday. “I love Ford Field, I love our fans, I love hearing them. But on the road, it’s fun.

“[To] go into someone else’s house and make them have a bad day — especially with it being a 1 o’clock game. They have to go home and watch the rest the games, the Sunday night game, the Monday night game, with a loss. I like playing on the road.”

On Monday night Suh and his fellow defensive teammates played an inspired game against the New York Giants at Ford Field. But there were still a few too many yellow flags thrown on their play. Every Lion fan knows that penalties have been a problem for the Detroit football team since the Wayne Fontes days, and that was what, seven or eight coaches ago? For some reason, no matter who’s wearing the Honolulu Blue, no matter what names are on the back of the jerseys, the Detroit Lions always seem to lead the NFL in rockheaded penalties. If there’s a dumb penalty to commit, one of the Lions will find a way to do it, usually at the most inopportune time.

Donkey Kong debuted from Nintendo in 1981 with the protagonist a character named Mario who was trying to save his girlfriend Pauline from the clutches of the mighty gorilla for whom the game was named. Cam newton should be aware that the “hero” was about 1/4 the height and size of Donkey Kong. He was constantly being chased and harassed and challenged by obstacles. If he failed he would fall to his doom, often several stories down from his perch, on his head.

On Sunday, Cam Newton may get to feel what Mario has so many times for the price of a quarter. And should he sack the QB, Ndamukong Suh can stand over Newton and ask him this simple question: “What’s my name?”