Cincinnati Bengals

Smith: Vontaze Burfict should have been suspended, not fined

22 DECEMBER 2013:  Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) argues a yellow flag call in action during a football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH.
(Icon Sportswire)

It’s a never-ending story with Cincinnati Bengals Vontaze Burfict it seems. The immensely talented, yet “dirty,” as he’s been referred to by many analysts and fans, player has been handed a hefty fine after Week 6. According to Pro Football Talk’s Zac Jackson, the Bengals’ star linebacker will be fined a whopping $75,000 for his stomp of New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount.

For anyone who watched the Bengals vs. Patriots game, it may be surprising to hear, but Burfict actually wasn’t fined at all for the hit to the knees of Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett. As Florio explains, a defenseless receiver has no protection against a hit to the knees. While it seems a bit crazy that the NFL is big on protecting receivers going across the middle and taking big hits when they’re defenseless, hits to knees seem probably second-worse, compared only to hits to the head.

As for Burfict’s stomp on Blount, the Bengals apparently have some type of footage they believe shows that Burfict did not actually do anything, per Florio. Regardless, the league must have seen something. Burfict will appeal the punishment of the fine that’s larger than what many people make in a single year.

No matter how you look at it, though, the stomp by Burfict was cheap and dirty. To take things one step further, after seeing Burfict suspended for three games to start the 2016 season after an illegal hit on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown in 2015, there’s an argument to made that the Bengals LB should be suspended once again.

And that argument is actually a pretty easy one to make.

When looking back at Burfict’s career, FOX Sports broke down the many fines that he’s accrued, and these don’t even include the three-game suspension, which as they pointed out cost him more than $500,000. Here’s a look at the breakdown of Burfict’s fines (all courtesy of FOX Sports):

  • 2015, Week 17 — Fined $50,000 for illegal hit on Ravens tight end Maxx Williams
  •  2015, Week 14 — Fined nearly $70,000 for three different infractions against the Steelers: roughing the passer, facemask and unnecessary roughness
  •  2014, Week 16 — Fined $25,000 for twisting the ankles of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen
  •  2013 Week 8 — Fined $21,000 for hitting Jets receiver Stephen Hill with the crown of his helmet
  •  2013 Week 6 — Fined nearly $8,000 for facemask against Bills running back Fred Jackson
  •  2013 Week 3 — Fined $31,000 for two incidents against the Green Bay Packers: hitting defenseless receiver James Jones and striking tight end Ryan Taylor in the groin

In total, that adds up to $205,000 just dating back to the 2013 season.

When looking at what happened Sunday, it’s not like it was just a big hit that was questionably bad, it was a stomp that was tough to watch. The fine of $75,000 is a big one, but Burfict shouldn’t be allowed to play for at least a game after this. A fine simply isn’t enough, and a suspension is the direction that the NFL should have gone when handing down this punishment.

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