Vontaze Burfict of the Cincinnati Bengals was suspended for three games for his dirty hit on Antonio Brown in the closing moments of the AFC wild-card game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.
In an interview with ESPN, Vontaze Burfict acknowledged that his style of play has to change with the game.
Burfict’s believes that he was flagged because of his bad reputation as a dirty player.
I’m not going to argue why I think that Burfict’s hit was dirty. I’ve already writtenan article about that. I will argue that the only thing that matters is if Burfict is true to his word and changes the way he plays.
Hit A Dirty Player Where it Counts
The NFL can force players to change their dirty playing by hitting the player where it counts most, which is their wallet. It doesn’t matter if the NFL changes the player’s opinion. The only thing that matters is if the player changes the way he plays the game.
In Burfict’s case, he will have to sit out the first three games of the 2016 NFL season due to his three game suspension (for the hit on Brown). That’s sure to put a dent in Burfict’s wallet.
As for Burfict’s reputation. Sure it plays a part. If a player makes too many dirty plays, then the officials will take notice and flag a player every time his hit looks dirty. The NFL will also increase the penalties it dishes out to the dirty player based on that player’s reputation.
That’s exactly what happened in Burfict’s case. The NFL wins here. They don’t need to try and force the player to agree with them. They only have force the player to change the way they play the game.
Let’s be honest, if Burfict fails to change the way he plays the game, he will continue to be suspended and even banned form the game.
Is Vontaze Burfict Playing victim
I do believe that Burfict sounds like he’s trying to portray himself as a victim. I don’t think that he thinks that there was anything wrong with the hit on Brown. By saying that if he wasn’t #55 he wouldn’t have been flagged for the hit, he is excusing his actions and blaming the officials for flagging him, only because of his reputation. That’s bogus.
While I don’t believe that the officials targeted Burfict because of his reputation, I do think that the NFL considered his reputation when handing out his suspension. I do think that the NFL does believe that his hit was dirty. I don’t think that anyone is picking on Vontaze. They are picking on his actions and making him pay for it.
Now Vontaze might actually get it. If he doesn’t play within the rules, the NFL will continue to fine and suspend him. He has no choice if he wants to receive a paycheck. That’s the beauty of suspensions. They hit the dirty player where it counts. That’s one of the only ways to force a player to change the way they play.