Oakland Raiders Votaze Burfict Lands Unprecedented NFL Suspension For Repeated Rules Violations

New York – Votaze Burfict, the former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker who became the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders Defense when he was hired as a free-agent addition this year, was handed an unprecedented 12-game, season-long suspension by the National Football League, today.

NFL 100
NFL 100

The NFL action happened as a result of Votaze Burfict’s head-hunting hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle during Sunday’s game. Doyle was getting up after a short catch, when Burfict hunted down and hit the pass catcher with a helmet-to-helmet strike.

Votaze Burfict was ejected during what turned out to be the Oakland Raiders’ 31-24 win. The suspension will reportedly cost the often-fined Burfict $1.16 million in forfeited salary.

The league action marks the first time an NFL player has been suspended for an entire season due to an on-the-field infraction.

According to NFL Hall of Fame Personal Expert and Dallas Cowboys Legend Gil Brandt, Burfict has amassed $400,000 in fines. On Twitter, Brandt reported:

Vontaze Burfict has been fined more than $400,000 and suspended 18 games (not counting four for PEDs last year) since entering NFL as UDFA in 2012. The list:

2013: Fined $31,000 for hitting Packers TE Ryan Taylor in groin and WR James Jones as defenseless receiver
2013: Fined $7,875 for errant facemask on Bills RB Fred Jackson
2013: Fined $21,000 for spearing Jets WR Stephen Hill
2014: Fined $25,000 for twisting ankles of Panthers QB Cam Newton and TE Greg Olsen
2015: Fined $69,450 for three separate unsportsmanlike penalties vs. Steelers
2016: Fined $12,154 for unsportsmanlike conduct for hit on Bills WR Robert Woods
2016: Fined $75,000 for stomping on LeGarrette Blount’s leg
2016: Concussed Antonio Brown with a headshot, suspended three games for repeated safety violations
2017: Suspended three games for errant hit on Chiefs FB Anthony Sherman
2017: Fined $12,154 for kicking Steelers FB Roosevelt Nix
018: Fined $112,000 for hit to head area of Steelers RB James Conner and WR Antonio Brown
2018: Fined $53,482 for lowering helmet against Broncos FB Andy Janovich
2019: Suspended for rest of season for repeated safety violations after head-to-head hit on Colts TE Jack Doyle

Vontaze Burfict Agent Expected To File Appeal Of NFL Suspension

Vontaze Burfict’s agent Lamont Smith is expected to file an appeal of the League’s action.

The NFL’s decision was announced via this press release:


VONTAZE BURFICT of the Oakland Raiders has been suspended without pay for the remainder of the 2019 season, as well as any postseason games, for repeated violations of unnecessary roughness rules, including in Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

NFL Vice President of Football Operations JON RUNYAN issued the suspension for a violation of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 10, which states that: “It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.”

In his letter to Burfict, Runyan wrote:

“There were no mitigating circumstances on this play. Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided. For your actions, you were penalized and disqualified from the game.”

“Following each of your previous rule violations, you were warned by me and each of the jointly-appointed appeal officers that future violations would result in escalated accountability measures. However, you have continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk.”

“Your extensive history of rules violations is factored into this decision regarding accountability measures.”​

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the suspension may be appealed within three business days. Appeals are heard and decided by either DERRICK BROOKS or JAMES THRASH, the officers jointly appointed and compensated by the NFL and NFLPA to decide appeals of on-field player discipline.

Stay tuned.

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