NFL Fails To Dole Out Fitting Punishment Again — This Time With Ankle-Twister Vontaze Burfict
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was fined $25,000 by the NFL yesterday after he was spotted twisting the ankles of Panthers' players Cam Newton and Greg Olson on Sunday, seemingly with the intent to break bones or otherwise injure them after the play was over. Burfict was also told he'd been "summoned to the league office" if something like this happens again.
The NFL has come under fire recently for operating in a vacuum, doling out punishments that don't fit the crime. How they arrived at $25,000, or $12,500 an ankle-twist, for a guy who's a repeat personal foul offender. Here's his recent track recent, via ProFootballTalk:
On four different occasions in 2013, the league office fined Burfict for on-field misconduct. In Week Three, Burfict was fined $21,000 for striking a defenseless player in the head/neck area. In that same game, Burfict was fined $10,000 for striking an opponent in the groin. (The latter fine was dropped to $5,000. Perhaps because Burfict actually made in contact with only one testicle.)
The following month, Burfict was fined $7,875 in one game for grabbing an opponent’s face mask and, in another game, $21,000 for striking an opponent with the crown of the helmet.
That’s $79,875 in total fines. Before Sunday’s double-ankle leg-lock maneuver.
Considering how much lip service the NFL has paid towards player safety in recent years, you'd think that a guy who was directly and repeatedly disregarding the safety of his peers would see markedly harsher punishments than any of the following people:
Jimmy Graham -- fined $30,000 in the preseason for dunking over the goalposts.
Brandon Marshall -- fined $15,000 for wearing orange cleats.
Colin Kaepernick -- fined $10,000 for wearing the wrong kind of headphones in public.
Mike Williams -- fined $11,025 for wearing red socks.
Terrance Knighton -- fined $11,025 for abusive language against the Jets.
Frank Gore -- fined $10,500 for wearing his socks too low.
Julius Thomas -- fined $8,268 for a chop block that injured another player.
Again, at $12,500 per ankle twist, Burfict received a more lenient punishment than guys who celebrated a touchdown, or wore the wrong color shoes. The NFL doesn't care about player safety nearly as much as they care about players being obedient to their ridiculous laws. Defiance is the NFL's cardinal sin -- not unsportsmanlike conduct, or late hits, or even abuse, verbal or otherwise.
The league likes to talk a big game, but when it comes to taking action, they come up woefully short. We can't wait to see what happens if (when?) Burfict acts out again, and is "summoned to the league office" like a kid in school. No recess for you, Vontaze.
Please tell me this makes it into the Roger Goodell concussion movie.
Photo via Getty
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