The Cincinnati Bengals and Vontaze Burfict are appealing the linebacker’s five-game suspension, with the appeal expected to begin on Tuesday.
It came as a major shock when the league handed down its latest suspension for Burfict, this being two games longer than his previous ban for three games in 2016. That was also a ruling thought to be very harsh and one Burfict could get reduced via appeal.
However, Burfict lost the appeal and his three-game ban was upheld. That’s why we shouldn’t get our hopes up on Burfict getting his latest ban reduced, but he’s still going through the process.
The NFL has full control over most cases of player discipline, but that isn’t completely true with on-field misconduct. They can issue a suspension, though it’s subject to the appeals process, which is heard by one hearing officer appointed by the NFL.
Last year, it was former NFL linebacker Derrick Brooks who heard Burfict’s appeal. This time, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Burfict’s appeal will be heard by appeals officer James Thrash.
A former NFL wide receiver with Washington and Philadelphia from 1997-2008, Thrash began serving as an NFL and NFLPA discipline officer in 2015. With so many of Burfict’s ‘questionable’ infractions being against defenseless receivers, one would think Thrash is someone who could lean toward upholding the ruling.
Perhaps Thrash helps get the ban reduced to three or four games, but it’s now very hard to see the suspension being completely wiped out.