It's been nearly eight weeks since Vontaze Burfict played in his last NFL game of 2019. The Raiders linebacker has been out since the end of Week 4, when he was given a season-long suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit that he placed on Colts tight end Jack Doyle.
Although Burfict has been laying low for most of his suspension, the linebacker did come out of the woodwork recently to do an interview with The Athletic, and let's just say, it seems he had some bottled up emotions that he wanted to get off his chest, and most of those emotions had to do with the NFL and some key league executives.
For one, Burfict made a shocking accusation that probably isn't going to go over too well in the league office: The Raiders linebacker said he believes that some NFL games are rigged. According to Burfict, the league is able to pull it off because the officials can control the outcome of any game. Burfict's opinion on the subject came up when he was asked if he had been watching any football during his suspension.
"I honestly think some of the games are rigged," Burfict said. "The refs pick and choose when they want to throw their flags. There are flags on every play. The refs determine the outcomes of games, so I just chose not to watch it for the most part."
Basically, Burfict is calling into question the integrity of the game, which won't make Roger Goodell happy. With gambling now legal in multiple states, the NFL commissioner had been emphasizing the integrity of the game recently, and how important it is for fans to trust that there aren't any "outside influences" on the outcomes of NFL games.
"You don't want to do anything that's going to impact negatively on the integrity of our game," Goodell said in January 2018. "You want to be certain that there are no outside influences on our game, and that fans don't even have any issue with that; they understand, whether it's a perception or not, that there is no influence on our game. And that's something we stand firmly behind on the integrity of our game."
For the NFL, it's not an ideal time for Burfict to make that accusation due to how bad the officiating has been this season.
Also, Burfict isn't the only one who seems to think that refs might be throwing flags that don't need to be thrown. After the 49ers' Week 11 win over the Cardinals, Richard Sherman said he felt that he was being unfairly targeted by officials, which isn't that abnormal, because most defensive backs probably feel that way. However, Sherman's reasoning was definitely abnormal: The 49ers cornerback insinuated that refs were flagging him as payback for the fact that he's a member of the NFLPA's executive committee.
As for Burfict, if it does turn out that Goodell isn't thrilled with his comments, the linebacker probably won't care. Burfict didn't mince words when he was asked about the commissioner, who he met with in October when he appealed his suspension.
"I met Roger Goodell in New York and he was a total b----," Burfict said. "He was a b----. He didn't let anybody speak, he rushed us in and out of the meeting. The meeting was b-------. He already had the suspension in his hand."
Players will almost never come out and question the NFL the way Burfict did during his interview, so it will be interesting to see if the league responds to his comments.