Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended for the season and lost his appeal last month after a dirty helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle in Week 4, the latest in a string of dirty hits he’s made in recent years.
However that appeal process and meeting with league officials, according to Burfict, didn’t go well at all.
“I met [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell in New York and he was a total bitch,” Burfict said Friday, via The Athletic. “He was a bitch. He didn’t let anybody speak, he rushed us in and out of the meeting. The meeting was bulls--t. He already had the suspension in his hand.”
Burfict reportedly showed a video of clean plays he’s made, and “dirty plays” that were made against him which weren’t called and he didn’t retaliate. Goodell and the league, however, “didn’t give a f--k about that s--t,” he said.
Burfict said both Raiders coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr spoke on his behalf during a conference call with the league, too, but to no avail.
“That meant a lot to me, but the NFL didn’t give a f--k about that s--t either,” Burfict said, via The Athletic. “Derek Carr, my guy, said his piece about how I was a captain and a great teammate and not a dirty player, and [appeals officer] Derrick Brooks almost cut him off. He said, ‘We appreciate you coming on the call,’ but they didn’t need Derek Carr to couch for me.
“Brooks made his mind up already. They let me know before I woke up the next day. They didn’t even go in the office, make some coffee and discuss it for a few minutes.”
Burfict defends hit on Doyle
Speaking for the first time since his suspension, Burfict stands by the play that led to his ejection.
Burfict drilled a defenseless Doyle with a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit at midfield in Week 4, adding to his already infamous reputation as a dirty player in the league. The NFL later found a second helmet-to-helmet hit in that game that went uncalled, too.
Here’s the hit that could get Vontaze Burfict suspended for the season pic.twitter.com/eC8DK2nqCg— Mitchell Renz (@MitchellRenz365) September 30, 2019
“It was bulls--t,” Burfict said, via The Athletic. “I was making a football play. I could see if it was a fine or something, but not a suspension, let alone for the whole season. It kind of seems like there was a target on my head. I mean, there has always been a target on my head.”
Burfict blew kisses to the crowd in Indianapolis as he walked off the field following his ejection, too, and has no regrets.
“It was already bulls--t, getting thrown out of the game,” Burfict said, via The Athletic. “I could have done way more, bro. I could have done way more than just run off the field. I could have raised hell. I could have done what old boy whatever his name did last night. Raised hell, used my fists whatever. But I just ran off and I was getting flipped off and getting s--t thrown on me. The crowd was talking a lot of s--t, but I just blew kisses.
“I wanted to show to my daughters that I was OK, because I knew they were watching on TV. ‘There goes Daddy leaving the field … ‘ and I was not beating anybody up, like they did last night.”
Burfict said he was watching the Cleveland Browns-Pittsburgh Steelers game on Thursday night with his daughters, too, but shut the game off when Myles Garrett hit Mason Rudolph in the head with his own helmet in a brawl in the final seconds. He didn’t want his daughters to see that.
While he gets why the league handed down suspensions following that incident in Cleveland, he made sure to note that the circumstances around his suspension were different than what happened Thursday night.
“The NFL had to suspend somebody for that last night, since that wasn’t a football act,” Burfict said, via The Athletic. “My suspension was a football act. I was hitting somebody. I wasn’t taking a helmet off and swinging it at somebody.”
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