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Did Marshal Yanda spit on Vontaze Burfict? You decide!

A spittle of controversy hangs over the Ravens’ 24-21 win over the Bengals.

At the end of scrum in Sunday’s Ravens-Bengals game, Baltimore offensive lineman Marshal Yanda had some spit dangling from his facemask. As he hunched over to clear it away, it landed in the vicinity of Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

And, because Burfict is the closest thing the NFL has to an on-field wild west villain, this became a thing.

There’s a lot of ambiguity revolving around this case. The camera’s close shot doesn’t track where the spit, which looks too thin to be a proper loogie, lands. It’s safe to say that, due to the fact Burfict didn’t stand up enraged with the strength of 10 men, it wasn’t on him. But was it an intentional spitting motion in Burfict’s direction? Or was Yanda just real spitty from a long, intense play and trying to clear some gunk from his facemask?

The Ravens told ESPN on Monday morning that Yanda did not spit on Burfict or anyone else.

Let’s break this down.

Marshal Yanda spit near, but almost certainly not on, Vontaze Burfict

First off, that’s barely spit. When players spit at each other in the NFL, it’s a viscous explosion powered specifically to clear the facemask.

What Yanda is dealing with here is just a little bit of post-play froth. Gross, but pretty reasonable for a 300+ pound man going through a rigorous workout.

The video shows Yanda looking down to spit, but it also seems to show him changing the angle of his head specifically to avoid Burfict. The linebacker’s head is prone at Yanda’s right foot when the accused lineman begins the spitting process. But Yanda doesn’t spit slightly to his right or even straight down — he tilts his head to the left before freeing the brief stream of expectorant from his mandibles.

It’s also important to note Burfict clearly wasn’t spit on, as he didn’t immediately get up and threaten Yanda’s family (the typical response of any person who has been spit on. Even by llamas). The Ravens lineman had a perfect location to spot a spit bomb on his opponent, and plenty of time to do so. If Yanda wanted to drop a loogie on a Bengal, Burfict would have been slightly wetter for it. Instead, Burfict remained at typical levels of fourth quarter grossness.

So yes, it would have been easy for Yanda to spit on a defender. And, as history suggests, Burfict probably did something earlier in the game that wasn’t caught by referees to elicit this response. But these actions suggest no intentionality on Yanda’s part. These aren’t the movements of one man trying to spit on another, nor of one man being spit on.

Marshal Yanda is innocent, your honor. — Christian D’Andrea

It seems clear Marshal Yanda spit at Burfict — whether it hit him is another story

About 10 seconds after the whistle was blown, Yanda was still standing over Burfict when he tilted his head back and then went to stand right over the Bengals linebacker while he let the thick wad of saliva out of his mouth.

You can’t see where the spit lands, but it would have been easy for Yanda to turn around or step to the side and spit in a direction other than Burfict’s. I don’t follow the “it’s barely spit” argument. If I went to go spit, I don’t think you’d see it on video. This was really clearly a thick wad of spit that he collected in his mouth in the course of a few seconds.

The play was dead. The whistle had blown many times about 10 seconds prior. There was no reason for Yanda to continue to stand over the top of Burfict, especially if he felt the need to get some spit out of his mouth. He had nothing to gain from standing there and looks guilty in the process. — Rebecca Toback

What say you, good people of the jury?


Did Marshal Yanda spit on Vontaze Burfict?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    He did. The case is clear.
    (55 votes)
  • 63%
    He’s innocent. The evidence just doesn’t add up.
    (95 votes)
150 votes total Vote Now