Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict had refused to talk to reporters in the aftermath of the 12-game suspension that ended his 2019 season after only four games. After the egregious non-football act that ended Browns defensive end Myles Garrett‘s season after 10 games, Burfict’s name instantly surfaced, largely by way of comparison to Garrett.
And that was enough to get Burfict to break his silence.
“This fight happened last night and my name pops up everywhere,” Burfict told Vic Tafur of TheAthletic.com. “C’mon, bro. It’s always a bad picture being painted. It’s never about me going to the Ronald McDonald House to help the kids. It’s always negative. So I just give two f–ks. Excuse my language. . . . They tell me to go talk to the media and change your image, but what’s done is done. I can’t change anybody’s opinion.”
Burfict seeks a major difference between the basis for his suspension and the basis for Garrett’s.
“The NFL had to suspend somebody for that last night, since that wasn’t a football act,” Burfict told Tafur. “My suspension was a football act. I was hitting somebody. I wasn’t taking a helmet off and swinging it at somebody.”
Burfict still believes he shouldn’t have been suspended.
“It was bullsh-t,” Burfict said. “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 is right, but his suspension represented the culmination of a career full of football plays that violated the rules of football. He still refuses to accept that.
That said, Burfict say that he never received a warning that his next violation of the rules would be the one that wipes him out for the balance of a season and essentially ends his career.
“They didn’t, and it really doesn’t matter,” Burfict said. “I see other players make that same kind of play on a daily basis. It was a witch hunt. They were watching everything I do. They watched 171 of my plays this year. Tell me if they watched 171 plays of that linebacker from the Chargers, what’s his name, Thomas Davis? Go witch hunt him.”
And to the extent that Burfict had any hope of getting back next year, his decision to direct the rhymes-with-witch insult to the man who runs the sport probably killed it.
“I met Roger Goodell in New York and he was a total b-tch,” Burfict said. “He was a b-tch. He didn’t let anybody speak, he rushed us in and out of the meeting. The meeting was bullsh-t. He already had the suspension in his hand.”
Burfict also believes that Derrick Brooks, who affirmed the 12-game suspension on appeal, had his mind made up in advance, given that he didn’t care about any of the evidence presented by Burfict, from his clean plays to testimony from teammate Derek Carr.
“That meant a lot to me, but the NFL didn’t give a f–k about that sh-t either,” Burfict said regarding Carr’s role in the appeal hearing. “Derek Carr, my guy, said his piece about how I was a captain and a great teammate and not a dirty player, and Derrick Brooks almost cut him off. He said we appreciate you coming on the call, but they didn’t need Derek Carr to vouch 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 spent more than a few minutes unloading on anything and everything to Vic Tafur on Friday, and the clear takeaway is that Burfict won’t be back next year — and that based on the things he said he apparently doesn’t want to be.