By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
If the league wants to prove it won’t tolerate players committing violent acts against women – this time – they’ll suspend Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt indefinitely.
TMZ released on Friday a video of an incident from February, in which Hunt is seen shoving and then kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel. No charges were filed in the incident and no arrests were made.
Forget quibbling about the level of violence in Hunt’s act, or comparing it to any other incident that’s been caught on video in recent years. This video, in and of itself, is bad, and shouldn’t be something that goes without punishment.
Problem is, it basically already did.
News of the incident first surfaced in August. Now we have the visual. The NFL shouldn’t need the video to know Hunt deserves to get suspended, but now they really know. Hypocritical, a cover-up, no question about it. But now they don’t have a choice.
Here’s what Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt said about it back then:
“Kareem is a young man, second year in the league, obviously had a very big year on the field last year. I’m sure he learned some lessons this offseason and hopefully won’t be in those kind of situations in the future.”
Second chances are fine in some cases. Hunt did a horrible thing but isn’t necessarily a hopeless, irredeemable pile of excrement. Perhaps Hunt realizes the mistake he made and he’s going to learn from it and be a better person from here on out.
But … there’s no defense for this act. You have to punish the guy. You can’t just sweep the thing under the proverbial rug, definitely not now that everyone can clearly see what happened. It’s hard to say he’s going to actually learn anything if there are no consequences.
Clark Hunt said back in August that he doesn’t expect the running back to be disciplined by the NFL. That should change now. Looking the other way from a video like this would be unconscionable at this stage. Screw fantasy teams and screw the TV ratings, which aren’t going to be hurt because they took a running back off the field.
It appears that the Chiefs and/or the NFL tried to make the whole thing go away, per usual. It ain’t going away now.
There are conflicting reports about whether the Chiefs knew about the video, but obviously they knew about the incident itself. ESPN’s Dan Graziano is reporting that the Chiefs have sent Kareem Hunt home and there’s a chance he could be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, which would require him to be away from all Chiefs team activities (akin to a suspension) while he handles his issues.
It should be a suspension. Roger Goodell really shouldn’t have a choice here. He might still try to wait for it to blow over, because he knows in the end that we’ll be tuning into Chiefs games with or without Hunt.
But if he or the league offices care at all about the NFL’s public image, which also took a hit with the Redskins claiming serial domestic abuser Reuben Foster off waivers, then they’ll take Hunt away from Kansas City. It’s not just the best choice for behavior like this. It’s the only choice.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.