DeAngelo Williams posts video to explain Vontaze Burfict criticism
Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams returned to Twitter to explain why he previously blasted Roger Goodell and the NFL over the handling of the Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict situation.
Burfict’s most recent on-field transgression — stepping on New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount in last Sunday’s game — yielded him a $75,000 fine but no suspension. All told, Burfict has been suspended for three games and fined nearly $300,000 over his five-year NFL career.
Williams’ original tweet singled out Goodell for hypocrisy. While not explicitly commenting upon the Burfict situation, the tweet makes it pretty clear who was the target.
So roger is concerned about player safety right? However a known offender is fined rather than removed from the field? Message received
— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) October 19, 2016
And then on Thursday, Williams doubled-down on the criticism in a video posted on Twitter.
Here are my issues w/the NFL’s illogical fine system and w/Burfict (we can’t grow strong as a players union if we’re not for each other!)… pic.twitter.com/cvNcfGvSON
— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) October 20, 2016
In the video, Williams criticizes the NFL for fining players for uniform violations and suspending them for marijuana use. Yet the league opts not to suspend players like Burfict.
“However, it’s fine for somebody to go in and purposefully try to hurt someone,” he said, as transcribed by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “I don’t get it. … He just got fined, no ban.”
The routinely outspoken Williams also pitted league owners against the players when it comes to ensuring safety for all who play in the NFL.
“We’re already in this fight, this struggle of NFL players versus NFL owners,” Williams said. “Why would we self-implode with a player of our own that’s one of us trying to hurt one of us?… I’m trying to figure out why one of us, a football player, would purposefully try to hurt another football player in hopes to gain a competitive edge. That’s crazy to me.”
The Bengals-Steelers rivalry is of course among the bitterest in the NFL. Burfict’s own history of arguably dirty play against the Steelers (more on that here and here) reasonably could be motivating Williams’ comments to some extent. But truth be told, there’s no love lost going the other way, either.
It seems, though, that Williams is also taking a bigger picture perspective on the entire situation. Player safety should be of paramount concern for the league and the players. But Williams doesn’t see it that way.