Vontaze Burfict had been fined or suspended on 12 separate occasion heading into his Week 6 encounter with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and many expected that number to become his unlucky 13th this week after witnessing his questionable play last Sunday. Inexplicably, while a number of fines have been handed out to players around the league in the past few days, it would appear that the Cincinnati Bengals linebacker did not receive one.
Given his long history as a repeat offender, it is hard to understand why Burfict was not suspended, let alone fined, especially in a league that pretends to take player safety so seriously. In a seven year career, Burfict has been fined a total of $4,046,408 so far, a figure that many believe should have been added to this week.
Burfict’s complete list of fines and suspensions to date based on data from Spotrac.com.
2013 Week 3 - Fined a total of $31,000 for a hit in a defenseless receiver and intentionally striking an opponent in the groin against Green Bay Packers.
2013 Week 6 - Fined $7,875 for a facemask on Fred Jackson in game against the Buffalo Bills
2013 Week 8 - Fined $21,000 for spearing New York Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill.
2014 Week 6 - Fined $25,000 for twisting the ankles of both Cam Newton and Greg Olsen in separate incidents in a game against the Carolina Panther.
2015 Week 14 - Fined $69,454 for three separate incidents against the Steelers.
2015 Week 17 - Fined $50,000 for a late hit on Baltimore Ravens tight end Maxx Williams.
2015/16 AFC Wildcard - Suspended for three games for a hit on a defenseless receiver after hitting Antonio Brown in the head. Lost a total of $502,941 in salary.
2016 Week 6 - Fined $75,000 for stepping on the leg of LeGarrett Blount in a game against the New England Patriots.
2016 Week 11 - Fined $12,153 for giving the middle finger to a Buffalo Bills fan.
2017 Preseason Week 2 - Suspended for three games for a hit on a Anthony Sherman of the Kansas City Chiefs. Lost a total of $1,400,469 in salary.
2017 Week 7 - Fined $12,154 for kicking Roosevelt Nix.
2018 - Suspended four games for the use of performance enhancing drugs. Lost a total of $1,839,362 in salary.
Oh and there was also this too ...
Ladies and gentlemen, Vontaze Burfict. pic.twitter.com/DQgpAMHA27— 360°FantasyFootball (@360FFB) October 18, 2018
Regardless of the public outcry from fans, media and many former and current players, it should come as no surprise to note the NFL was completely tone deaf to outside opinion about what to do with Burfict. Much like they were when disciplining players like Ray Rice or Josh Brown.
Rather than acknowledge they have someone in the league with serious anger issues who needs removing from the game altogether, the NFL is content to ignore the problem and hope it goes away. It is clear Marvin Lewis and the Bengals will do nothing to control the troubled linebacker internally and we will all be back here later in the year having the same conversation once again.
While T.J. Watt gets fined $20,000 for this:
Steelers' T.J. Watt has been fined $20K by the NFL for this hit to Matt Ryan. pic.twitter.com/f8aGb1v82b— theScore (@theScore) October 12, 2018
It appears Burfict will see not punishment for doing this:
The real Vontaze Burfict has arrived. pic.twitter.com/msxyIj8Js7— Chris Mack (@THEChrisMack) October 14, 2018
Averaging at least two notable fines or suspensions a year in each of the last five seasons, Burfict is very likely to do something else worthy of punishment in the next 11 weeks. It can only be hoped that the next injury he causes is not career threatening. Not that the league really cares.