The sympathy train is beginning to gain steam regarding Vontaze Burfict’s season-long suspension that was handed down by the National Football League earlier this week. On Wednesday, during a media gathering in London, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and head coach Jon Gruden offered an interesting take on the linebacker’s recent controversy. The QB came to the defense of Burfict, and Gruden expressed his discontent with the league’s decision.
According to ESPN, Gruden told reporters he is “not happy…at all” with commissioner Roger Goodell and the league’s decision to remove Burfict from competitive play for the remainder of the season. He also expressed his frustration with NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan saying, “He knows how I feel — it hurts our team really bad and I’m anxious to see what the appeal says. I’m not happy about it. At all. And I don’t want to say anything else about it. I’m obviously upset about it.”
Carr’s defense of his teammate was admirable as he spoke to the media, saying, “I don’t think he was trying to hurt that man; the man was going down,” after stating that Burfict is, “one of the most misunderstood people in the NFL.
The Raiders’ QB also added, “We see other people choking people out, and they’re going to play this Sunday. We see other people hitting people in the helmet, and they’re going to play this Sunday. And Vontaze Burfict won’t play the rest of the year? I think that’s a little excessive, if you ask me. I don’t think it’s fair, if we really got to know the guy. If the people making the decision really knew the guy that we know, inside our building … he’s a great person, his heart is broken because he’s not playing football. The guy just wants to play football. We don’t get a lot of time to play this game in our lives.”
Since entering the league out of Arizona State in 2012, Burfict has amassed quite a long rap sheet pertaining to his physical play while on the field. Between fines and forefited game-checks, the linebacker has surrendered or lost over $4 Million in wages. The buck doesn’t stop there either, as he has been flagged for 23 personal fouls and 15 unnecessary roughness penalties throughout his seven-year career.
Burfict’s Agent, Lamont Smith told ESPN that Burfict plans to appeal the suspension, and that the hearing with the NFL could happen as early as next week.
Sitting back and thinking of what to make of all this, it’s become clear that Burfict played an integral role on this year’s Oakland Raiders football team. The locker room is being very vocal in their defense of a teammate. However, Derek and coach Gruden need to pump the breaks a little bit on this one. It’s clear that the contact could have been avoided, and Vontaze is a REPEAT OFFENDER. Yes, if this is his first incident I would expect the NFL to cut him some slack. We certainly wouldn’t be sitting here discussing a “season-long” suspension. With his history, Burfict is a disgrace to the game and is lucky he wasn’t banned for life.
Someone please tell Carr to worry about the Raiders’ putrid offense and let Jon Gruden to quit crying and leave his sob-stories in London because the fans are tired of hearing excuses about Antonio Brown’s departure affecting the team’s offensive performance, on top of Burfict’s removal which is ABSOLUTELY well warranted. It’s this simple, the Oakland Raiders aren’t very good and seem to be hanging on every misfortune that comes along instead of taking responsibility for their lackluster performance on the field and as an organization.
Header Photo Credit: New York Post