Vontaze Burfict is back in the headlines, but for once, it’s not for something he did.
This time, it was something that was done to Burfict during Sunday’s loss to the Ravens. During the game, Ravens offensive lineman Marshal Yanda at one point appeared to spit on Burfict:
What's your opinion of this? Watch Marshall Yanda. pic.twitter.com/kNGl92LxzQ— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) November 19, 2018
Had Burfict been the one doing this, he’d already have been crucified by the media and maybe banned by the NFL. However, Yanda isn’t someone with experience making headlines quite as much, so he hasn’t caught remotely as much hell as Burfict would.
But facts are facts, and that’s pretty damning video proof of what Yanda did, even if the Ravens are
doing what they did for Ray Lewis vehemently denying it.
“Are you really, seriously asking that question?” said head coach John Harbaugh via The Baltimore Sun. “I mean, here’s my point on that. It’s like, this guy’s been playing for how many years? Eleven years. … Have you ever, from whoever wrote the article that makes the insinuation [that Yanda spat at Burfict], have you ever heard Marshal Yanda’s character being attacked or him doing something along those lines ever in his whole career? But now, all of a sudden, we’re going to say, ‘Oh, I know Marshal Yanda spit at somebody, at a person?’ Really? Come on. No way. There’s no way.”
Harbaugh even asserted that Burfict stomped on Yanda’s arm, though he wouldn’t go as far as to say it was on purpose.
“I’m not going to stand up here and say 55 did it on purpose, because I’m not going to point the bony finger of blame and I don’t know what somebody’s intentions are,” Harbaugh said. “So for all those quote-unquote journalists out there that think that they somehow inherited the position to judge another man’s character when they don’t know his intention, we don’t give that any consideration whatsoever. None. It’s not worth it. Kind of an indication of where our society is going right now.”
When asked about the incident, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis didn’t want to discuss it during his Monday press conference.
“Somebody mentioned it to me this morning,” said Lewis. “That’s about all I got to say about it.”
Lewis did add, “It doesn’t occur on the coaches tape,” which is probably true since the camera view in that scenario is too far away to tell if Yanda spit on Burfict and it occurred well after the play.
Ultimately, the NFL will likely watch and decide if Yanda spit, and if he’ll be punished. It may not seem serious, but spitting is taken seriously by the league, so Yanda could be hit with a fine if they determine this act took place.
Former Bengals receiver Terrell Owens was once fined $35,000 for spitting on Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall while a member of the Cowboys.
There have been several spitting accusations across the NFL over the years, though most of them led to nothing because there wasn’t enough visual proof.
That doesn’t appear to be the issue here. Yanda should, at the very least, be fined for this. There’s no place in any sport for this kind of lack of sportsmanship.