McMullen: Alonso is no villain
Kiko Alonso made a mistake on Thursday night and the Dolphins' linebacker will likely be paying for it in the form of a fine and suspension but let's not take the leap from that reality to the narrative that Alonso is somehow Conrad Dobler on steroids.
To many on Friday Alonso was all of a sudden the Ric Flair of the NFL: the dirtiest player in the game.
To those who've ever spent even 10 minutes with him, however, Alonso is the antithesis of a dirty player like say Dobler, the former Cardinals offensive lineman, his teammate Ndamukong Suh or Cincinnati's Vontaze Burfict, players with a long history of ignoring sportsmanship in the heat of the moment.
Heck, in the same game everyone was putting together screenshots and GIFs to show Alonso taking off Joe Flacco's head with an illegal hit, Suh channeled his inner-Undertaker and nearly went for the chokeslam of Flacco's backup, Ryan Mallet.
The exercise here is not to compare the two because Alonso's actions were the much more egregious ones in Miami's embarrassing 40-0 setback.
My issue is those who are trying to go beyond the 15-yard penalty, the upcoming fine, and one-game suspension and assuming Alonso was trying to purposefully injury Flacco, a take that is ludicrous.
When trying to describe Alonso the only person I could think of that might be more laid back is a Hollywood creation, Matthew McConaughey's David Wooderson in "Dazed and Confused."
It's tough to be a defensive player in this league and being asked to play a million miles an hour and then peel off when a QB decides to give himself up.
“I was wondering, is he gonna slide?” Alonso explained to reporters after the game. “And then it got to a point where I’m like, ‘I’ve gotta hit him,’ because he slid too late. It was bang-bang."
Not to many who've never played at this level who are positive Alonso should have been able to press up, up and down, down to avoid Flacco.
Obviously, the Ravens were upset and center Ryan Jensen immediately went after Alonso and coach John Harbaugh started screaming at him. Any team would protect its QB, however, so didn't take that as evidence of pre-determination.
In fact, to truly believe Alonso knew he could have pulled off and instead continued on to blow up Flacco is just as dumb as Alonso's actions were.
Every illegal hit isn't necessarily a dirty one.
“I saw it live. I’m not going to say it’s dirty, not dirty, whatever. It’s football," Ravens safety Eric Weddle said. "Obviously, you never want to see a teammate get hit. He was sliding, and the guy came in high. They’re trying to take that play out, but it happens."
-John McMullen is a national football columnist for Extra Points Media and 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen