By KAITLIN SWANTON
Star running back Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, who is facing three assault allegations from incidents dating back to January 2018, was released from the team on Friday. Hunt was cut from his team for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy as a result of an alleged incident released on surveillance video by TMZ where he is shown to be kicking a woman. Hunt now finds himself unemployed by the remaining 31 NFL teams as the deadline to claim his playing rights on waivers passed this Monday.
Hunt’s dramatic downfall from the league’s fifth-leading rusher to a now unemployed athlete began in February 2018 when the NFL reportedly opened an investigation into the incident caught on camera at his Cleveland hotel-apartment residence. The Washington Post reported that the woman alleged to be the victim in the surveillance video was with a friend on a party bus with Hunt when they went to his apartment. The pair were asked to leave, which subsequently led to the fight captured in the viral video.
In the video released by TMZ, Hunt can be seen first shoving a woman as a man attempted to break up the fight. Multiple men then attempted to restrain Hunt from attacking the woman. A brawl broke loose between Hunt, the woman and four other individuals and the video ended with Hunt shoving a man into the woman and kicking her as she laid on the ground.
In a live interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters, Hunt apologized for his actions. “Honestly, I just want to let the world know how sorry I am for my actions and, you know, it’s been a tough time for me. I’m extremely embarrassed because of that video,” said Hunt.
Before the video was released last week, Hunt reportedly downplayed and lied about the incident to the Chiefs. With the release of the video, the Chiefs determined that Hunt had violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and he was subsequently released hours later.
In a statement, the Chiefs organization gave an explanation to Hunt’s release. “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,” the statement on Friday declared.
Other incidents involving Hunt’s off-the-field conduct include allegations by a man who claimed Hunt assaulted him at a nightclub in January. According to a police report acquired by TMZ Sports, the alleged attack occurred on Jan. 7, 2018. The police report was filed on Jan. 11. The alleged victim claimed to have been attacked by Hunt, former Chiefs running back George Atkinson and another man.
In June 2018, Hunt was alleged to have punched a man staying at an Ohio vacation resort. Hunt has not faced charges for any of the three assault allegations.
For historic preservation major and freshman Alberic Karina-Plun, the NFL’s actions in the Hunt controversy are a welcomed result. “I think it was the right thing for the NFL to do because there can be no tolerance for any kind of misogyny or violence against women in sports. It’s unfortunate that he was fired, but again that type of behavior can’t happen,” Karina-Plun, also an athlete on the men’s rowing team, said.
The Chiefs’ actions come in contrast with the case of former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster. Foster, facing a domestic violence allegation, was cut from the team after having been arrested for the charge of domestic violence against a woman he had previously been in a relationship with. Days after his release from the team, the Washington Redskins claimed his playing rights over wire waivers, a move that faced criticism among fans and NFL insiders alike.
“Well, that’s the decision of the Redskins to sign him [Foster], but personally I would not be comfortable to be on a team with someone who is a domestic abuser,” Karina-Plun commented of Foster’s signing.
Although the future for Hunt remains uncertain, agents speaking on grounds of anonymity have told the Washington Post that Hunt will likely play again next season after serving a potential suspension as the controversy fades from the public eye.