Marvin Lewis defends Vontaze Burfict in wake of $75K fine
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict reportedly has been fined $75,000 by the NFL for allegedly stomping on New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount during last Sunday’s game. In the wake of the report, the league has been criticized by some for not suspending Burfict in light of his many previous transgressions.
Not surprisingly, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis does not count himself among the contingent of said critics.
“I don’t think he did anything wrong,” Lewis said, via ESPN. “We were not in the wrong here, in my opinion. And it’s unfortunate. That’s what I have told and stood on and will continue to.”
Lewis claims to have watched video of the alleged incident and sees nothing that merits punishment. To wit:
Vontaze Burfict Deliberately Stepped On LeGarrette Blount's Legs After Touchdown pic.twitter.com/xRnAu8llCE
— SportsCast (@SportsCast_THN) October 18, 2016
“I don’t think he meant to do anything,” Lewis said of Burfict. “And I’ve been through it back and forth as big as this board behind me,” Lewis said. “Hell if I can see who steps where or whatever. I see him try to step through (the pile) and try to go help (a) teammate. … Someone from another team has a hand on his teammate’s face mask, pushing him in the face, and that’s what he’s trying to get to. But that doesn’t matter, it’s done. We’ll move on and things will happen the way they happen.”
Lewis argues that Burfict is a victim of his own unsavory reputation, and that causes greater scrutiny. After all, Burfict was suspended for the season’s first three games and has been fined eight times for a whopping $279,329 during his career.
“That’s a thing he knows. He’s got to realize all the time so it’s not the national furor all the time,” Lewis said.
Burfict’s reputation should have some impact on how he’s scrutinized, though. His career is littered with conduct that has to be considered suspect at best and involves deliberate cheap shots at worse.
It makes perfect sense that Lewis came to the defense of Burfict. That’s what he ought to do. As is the case with the NFL fining Burfict, if not meting out a more severe punishment.