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What I Am Really Thinking About…Suspension Lengths?

Oct 4, 2019

by Mike Jansen

So, Vontaze Burfict is in the news again these days, and that is seemingly never a good thing for the NFL or the team that is employing him. Why, you may ask? After accumulating 13 suspensions and the subsequent fines from those “indiscretions” during the course of seven seasons spent with the Cincinnati Bengals, let’s say he has a reputation. After signing with the renegade Oakland Raiders in the off-season, many like me wondered when, not if, the NFL would have to get involved in some way, shape or form involving the undrafted eight-year veteran inside linebacker from Arizona State.

We didn’t have to wait very long, did we? During last Sunday’s game between the visiting Raiders and the home-standing Indianapolis Colts, Burfict’s second quarter helmet-to-helmet hit on Colts TE Jack Doyle ultimately led the NFL on Monday to suspend the controversial linebacker for the remainder of the season – 12 games – the longest suspension ever handed out for an on-field incident in NFL history.

Some, most notably Scott Van Pelt, the primetime anchor of ESPN’s evening edition of SportsCenter, didn’t think that Burfict’s hit on Doyle was worthy of the extreme punishment. I vehemently disagree. The hit itself aside, the way that Burfict left the field in Indianapolis, clapping and enjoying the moment, was worthy of a lengthy suspension just for the lack of respect for the Colts player, the Indianapolis Colts and Oakland Raiders franchises and the NFL itself. What the hell did Burfict expect once the NFL cited his repeated violations of unnecessary roughness rules? This wasn’t his first rodeo, and the way he left the field on Sunday, if he makes it back next season with the Raiders or some other team, I just have a feeling it won’t be his last rodeo. Some old dogs can’t be taught new tricks! Now to the other side of the world for another suspension handed out to a professional athlete on Monday.  

Current Korean PGA Tour player, and that tour’s leading money winner, Bio Kim, won the DGB Financial Group Open last weekend in South Korea. But soon afterwards he was suspended by that Tour for three years, yes I typed three years, after he made an obscene gesture to fans during Sunday’s final round. While teeing off on the 16th hole, Kim reacted angrily after a cell phone camera went off during his downswing, causing a poor shot that went only 100 yards off the tee. After the poor shot, Lee turned to the crowd, flipped off fans and slammed his driver into the ground – all on Korean national television. Three years for that? Tiger Woods has been swearing like a drunken sailor on leave and slamming whatever club he has in his hands into the ground for 20+ years and he has yet to be suspended once. And this guy gets three years? If Burfict was a Korean professional golfer on this tour, he would be in jail for an extended period time or buried in a kimchi container fermenting in the ground for six months or more. Korean PGA Tour officials said, “Kim Bio damaged the dignity of a golfer with an etiquette violation and inappropriate behavior.” Kim is not appealing his suspension. This is Kim’s first bit of trouble on the Korean PGA Tour and he gets a three-year ban and an $8,500 US fine; this will be – barring a successful appeal – Burfict’s 14th suspension. There is something terribly wrong here.