Vontaze Burfict’s suspension will be resolved by independent hearing officer


With the league having so much control over so many aspects of player discipline, it’s easy to forget that, in one specific area, the NFL doesn’t make the final call.

When it comes to punishment imposed for on-field misconduct, the league and the NFL Players Association have jointly hired, and jointly compensate, a pair of hearing officers to resolve the appeals: Derrick Brooks and James Thrash. One of them will determine whether: (1) the hit from Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman was illegal; and (2) if so, whether he should be suspended five games for it.

Burfict’s history has a direct influence on the punishment. The NFL employs a system of progressive discipline in matters of this nature, with the thinking being that the punishment will increase until the player gets the message. Burfict, in the league’s view, clearly hasn’t gotten the message.

And so, after a three-game suspension imposed (and upheld) after an illegal hit on Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, Burfict now faces the next level — a five-game banishment. If this one is upheld and he still doesn’t get the message, it will continue to get worse.

13 responses to “Vontaze Burfict’s suspension will be resolved by independent hearing officer

  1. With such a focus on safety, it’s just amazing that they continue to let this guy play. This guy is a blatant danger to the customers of the NFLPA and to the reputation of the NFL.

  2. Burfict will never “get the message.” He’s just not wired that way. He’s an old school gladiator. Ronnie Lott, Dick Butkus, and others are revered HOFers for playing this style of football. If Burfict played in that era, he’d have been one of our favorite players.

  3. Cinci sports news has been playing hits from this past weekend, and Burfict’s “hit” looks measly compared to what we’ve seen. National news won’t show all hits from preseason to compare, but if they did you’d see why this is ridiculous on the leagues part.

    If he was a Steeler, he’d be praised.

  4. These guys are payed millions to play football and all these safety rules are ruining the game. I have no idea what a “legal” hit is anymore. The NFL might as well do away with the safety position because if they touch a receiver these days it’s a penalty. As far as burfict it’s funny, 20 years ago he’d be an MVP with his own NFL home video call “the burfict hit”

  5. Receivers shouldn’t be considered defenseless, it’s ridiculous since they themselves in that position. They could either protect themselves or make the catch, but risk getting blown up. Here’s an idea for a rule And can’t check the ball down or throw over the middle period anymore because now it’s a no no place where the big boys play.

  6. Squared him up (not from side or behind), hit him below the head/neck area with his shoulder, did it with the guy running at him within 5 yards of Line of Scrimmage and didn’t launch himself like a missle at the guy. Sorry that people don’t like him (and it’s very fair that they don’t), but you can’t suspend a guy for what is, by the book, a legal play.

  7. jjackwagon says:
    August 28, 2017 at 10:50 am
    It’s preseason…yes it was illegal and yes he should be suspended.

    I didn’t realize there are different rules for tackling in pre-season games.

    Unfortunately Roger wants him gone. If not now then he’ll be suspended for 5 games soon so it’s just a matter of time. Next up it will be a full season. It sucks but Roger might as well just make a rule saying guys that hit hard or are too powerful just can’t play in the NFL anymore. The Bengals count on having their star linebacker and they’d be better off just knowing they can’t have the guy.

  8. I am a bengals fan, but if this hit is illegal, and worth of a suspension, than so is the one that broke Keith rivers face, broke hubers jaw, and took out Gio Bernard in the playoffs.

    No hit to the head
    No using the crown of the helmet
    No launch
    Within 5 yards

    I get that burfict is not liked in he league but LOL

  9. Bengals say he is a model citizen and the hit was perfectly legal.

    Will say the same thing when they cart an opposing player off to the coroner’s office?

  10. Rooney has let his good buddy Goodell know that the Steelers are the only team allowed to use physicality to imtimidate opponents. Be honest with yourselves. If Burfict wore black and yellow, would there still be a witch hunt? Look at James Harrison and how much he was fined. Never suspended though, and certainly not vilified.

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