Kareem Hunt

USA Today

Kareem Hunt Video

I would love to talk about anything other than a man appearing to repeatedly strike a woman.

December 03, 2018 - 11:31 am
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As I said in the open, there is an absolute ton to talk about from the NFL. A ton of hot topics. And there is Kareem Hunt. 

 

And I’m sorry if it bums you out to hear about another player involved in a domestic violence incident. I’m sorry if you want to just talk about the games. I feel you. Believe me, I feel the exact way.   

I would like nothing better than that. Do you think I WANT to talk about Kareem Hunt?  Do you think I want to talk about another player accused of domestic violence?  I’d love to spend this time talking about what Philip Rivers did last night and the fact that he doesn’t get nearly enough run. Hell, I would love to talk about Cody Kessler. 

I would love to talk about anything other than a man appearing to repeatedly strike a woman. But I have to. And we all have to. Because it keeps happening. 

Just because it isn’t fun doesn’t mean we get to ignore it. Because this has been ignored for too long. 

On Friday, TMZ released video of Kareem Hunt striking, shoving, and kicking a woman in the hallway of a Cleveland hotel. It is a very difficult video to watch, on so many levels. And difficult to wrap your head around the fact that the incident took place in February, but the video is just surfacing now. 

Shortly after the release of the video, the Kansas City Chiefs released Kareem Hunt in a statement that read: “Earlier this year, we were made aware of an incident involving running back Kareem Hunt. At that time, the National Football League and law enforcement initiated investigations into the issue. As part of our internal discussions with Kareem, several members of our management team spoke directly to him. Kareem was not truthful in those discussions. The video released today confirms that fact. We are releasing Kareem immediately.”

So what do you do with that? Do you respect the fact that the team released a Pro Bowl running back in the middle of one of the team’s best seasons ever? And did so swiftly?

Or are you concerned with the fact that the incident happened in February and he was released nearly 10 months later, only after the video became public?

Because based on the video and the statement from the team, the issue isn’t that he allegedly assaulted a woman, it’s that he wasn’t honest about allegedly assaulting a woman. And you have to wonder if that video doesn’t get released, does Hunt ever get released at all? I’m guessing, no. No video and he’s still a Chief right now.

The fact that charges were reportedly not filed in the incident makes it tricky. Same with the fact that charges were apparently not filed in an incident where Hunt allegedly punched someone at a resort in Ohio in June.  

But here’s the thing that I don’t quite get. How is this video just coming out now? According to The Athletic, the team knew the video existed, “but they were told by the NFL to stop pursuing it later in February once the league began its investigation.”

Nate Taylor in The Athletic went on to write: “As part of the fallout from the Rice incident, the NFL formally took over the responsibility of handling all investigations into potential violations of the personal conduct policy. Part of the reason the league took over these types of investigations was to keep teams, which have a vested interest in keeping players on the field, from potential conflicts of interest. The league, however, couldn’t obtain the video.”

If the NFL is telling the team to stop trying to get the video, the NFL better get the video. And how is TMZ able to get the video and the NFL cannot? Is TMZ just that much better at doing this work? Or do they actually want to do this work and the NFL wants just to be seen like it’s doing this work?

That’s not the only weird part of this. According to ESPN: “during its investigation into the February incident that cost Kareem Hunt his job, the NFL did not interview the running back or the woman he shoved and kicked. … The NFL never requested an interview with Hunt after the incident that occurred outside his Cleveland residence. The NFL did reach out to the woman and her friend on multiple occasions, but they did not respond.”

The league cannot force an alleged victim to respond to questioning. They’re not the authorities. They don’t subpoena power. I get that. But did the league really not talk to Kareem Hunt? Did they really just leave that up to the team? Why is that, especially when they acknowledge that team’s might have a conflict of interest when it comes to investigating their own players?

So to recap: Kareem Hunt allegedly assaults a woman in February. The league gets involved in the investigation, but does not talk to Kareem Hunt or the woman and does not get the video of the incident. What kind of investigation does not involve talking to the two people involved or getting a video of the incident? What were they investigating?  What did the investigation consist of?

And compare that to the insane amount of time, money, and energy that they put into investigating and researching the inflation levels of footballs in the Pats-Colts game. That investigation included interviewing 66 witnesses, writing a report that was nearly 140 pages long, and more. They took that to court. They battled like crazy to be right on that.  They’ll investigate deflategate with that intensity and attention to detail but not an alleged assault. Why? How does that add up. 

Again, I’m not saying the league does not care about domestic violence. But I am saying that the way they handle it makes absolutely no sense. When you have a team signing Reuben Foster hours after he’s arrested for the second time in a year for domestic violence and then you have this bizarre “investigation” of Kareem Hunt, it almost seems like they  really haven’t  learned much  in the years since Ray Rice.