After video of February incident surfaces, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell may be forced to effectively suspend KC’s top running back
In the aftermath of video showing Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt being involved in a violent incident with a woman in a Cleveland hotel in February, the NFL was mulling whether to put Hunt on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. That would effectively keep Hunt out of action with the team indefinitely.
Hunt was shown shoving and kicking a woman during the incident at the Metropolitan Hotel. Although friends of Hunt tried to intercede, Hunt shoved the woman once, knocked her over after knocking another man into her and then kicked her in the leg. The video was first reported by TMZ on Friday.
After the video was made public, the Chiefs excused Hunt from the team facility and he is not expected to accompany the team to Oakland for the game there on Sunday. Additionally, the league is leaning toward putting Hunt on the exempt list pending further investigation. ESPN’s Dan Graziano first reported on Twitter that going on the exempt list was likely and an NFL source said that was being considered.
Hunt, who led the NFL in rushing in 2017 as a rookie, is fifth in the league in rushing this season with 824 yards and is third in touchdowns with 14 (seven rushing and seven receiving).
The NFL did respond immediately when asked to comment. In addition, calls to Hunt’s agent, Dan Saffron, and the Cleveland Police Department were not immediately returned. Cleveland police took statements in the incident, but did not charge Hunt. According to TMZ, police were given access to the video from the Metropolitan hotel.
Tony Quintal, the Chief Operating Officers of the Metropolitan Hotel in Cleveland, issued the following statement: “An incident occurred on our property in February (2018) involving Kareem Hunt. Mr. Hunt allegedly assaulted a woman on our premises. While we condemn all violent behavior, we realize that this is an ongoing investigation and cannot share any additional information at this time. We respect the time our local officials have devoted to this situation and will continue to assist and cooperate in any way we can. We have and will always continue to offer a safe environment for all our guests and residents alike.”
Quintal declined to say whether the NFL had seen the video or requested it from the hotel.
“This is the only statement I have at this time,” Quintal said.
Several NFL sources put this incident on par with what happened between former Baltimore running back Ray Rice and his fiance (and now wife) in 2014. Rice was initially suspended for only two games. However, he was put on the exempt list after the video became public and never played in the NFL again.
Furthermore, several sources questioned the league about what happened. While there have been reports that the woman in the incident screamed a racial epithet at Hunt and the video shows that she continued to approach him after his anger flared, those sources said they were disturbed by what they saw.
In essence, if the NFL saw the tape and didn’t punish Hunt, that seems highly questionable. If the league didn’t get access to the tape, that also seems highly questionable for a league that was stung by similar issues in the Rice investigation.