Vontaze Burfict has been playing “cleaner” football this season. But, the NFL isn’t seeing it that way. He was fined $75,000 for another incident.
It’s a new year with a new set of goals. But, for the Bengals’ Vontaze Burfict, history keeps repeating itself. The NFL has slapped a $75,000 fine on the passionate WILL linebacker. The cause? An alleged altercation after the play was over. According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, Burfict’s fine was issued when he stomped on the leg of running back LeGarrette Blount.
Since the incident, various film and gif angles of the play have made their social media rounds. But, the ruling could go either way. The problem arises when your opinion of Burfict is questioned.
A rainy night in Cincinnati has tainted fans view of Burfict. On that fateful evening, the Bengals were on the verge of making history. They were under two minutes away from winning their first playoff game in years. A judgment call on a bang-bang play helped change the momentum of the game and ruined a Cinderella season for the Bengals.
In that January 9th Wild Card game, Burfict was called for a personal foul against Antonio Brown. The hit and resulting chaos in the aftermath resulted in the Steelers winning the game. The analysts won’t let it rest. Fans refuse to forget. Now, the NFL seems to be following suit.
Any fight or scuffle that breaks out…is automatically the result of something Burfict did. There seems to be a preliminary discussion and then the boom is lowered on Mr. Burfict.
Why Is It Always Mr. B?
For some strange reason, Burfict tends to draw the ire of referees. During the Patriots game, a nameless Bengal defender admits that refs could have been deliberately looking for Vontaze. Per Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, the player admits that refs told them to “calm down 55.” Burfict was nowhere near the play.
After reviewing the incident, Marvin Lewis gave his blessings to Burfict.
"“I don’t think he meant to do anything. I’ve been through it back and forth as big as this board behind me. H*** if I can see who steps where. He tried to step through and go help the teammate that somebody has his hand on his teammates’ facemask pushing him in the face. That’s what he’s trying to get to.”"
Lewis coming to the rescue? If it’s petty enough to get Marvin agitated, there has to be something to the witch hunt rumors.
Unfortunately, Burfict has been labeled as a dirty player. Yes, he’s done some questionable things in his career. But, those same things happen all over the NFL on any given Sunday. Why is the story always a negative spin on Burfict?
It’s simple. The calls being made against Vontaze are due to his perceived reputation. Upon closer look at the majority of his penalties, it’s about intimidation.
The NFL hasn’t changed. It’s still about hard hits and passionate play. But, there are only a few teams and players allowed to “engage” in real football. In no way do I condone the senseless, cowardice acts of a dirty player. What I do respect are talent and drive. Burfict has them both. But, it may be soon be shut down by the NFL’s desire for a sacrificial lamb.
Why Wasn’t This A Story?
Social media smoked Vontaze like a pack of cigarettes after fans thought he went low on a Martellus Bennett tackle. It seemed as if the takedown was aimed at Bennett’s knees. It was actually a totally legal technique that happens all the time. Tom Brady pump faked to Bennett and Vontaze dove at his legs to take the huge tight end down. After the incident, Burfict apologized. Say what? That should have been the bigger story.
Yes, it’s true. Crazy things happen in the NFL. But, lately, it seems to happen to Burfict more than others.