Yeah so, the NFL did that thing they do where they give abusers second chances just because they’re really good at football again. The Cleveland Browns signed Kareem Hunt on Monday.
This obviously was a highly infuriating move and one in the link of many that the NFL has turned a blind eye to violence against women. Since Ray Rice punched his wife in 2014 the NFL has been in a weird position regarding violence against women.
Sometimes the NFL is aggressive on creating certain blanket policies (see: Marijuana, The Use of) but on this topic the league has taken everything on a case by case basis. Sometimes the NFL makes judgements faster than the law but other times the league is so hands-off that Kareem Hunt can assault a woman and be back in the league three months later.
In the video you can clearly see Hunt’s people trying adamantly to hold him back from the woman. Hunt fights through them like linebackers to shove the woman to the ground and then kicks her as she’s getting back up.
It’s not nearly as violent as many of the other cases the NFL has endured (enabled?). The photos of Greg Hardy’s lover Nicole Holder are jarring, the video of Rice knocking his wife unconscious is brutal, but the Hunt video pales in comparison.
Imagine if Hunt’s people hadn’t been there to hold him back.
The sad thing is that Hunt doesn’t owe his career to the people that held him back. He probably would have had a second chance anyway. This is the 2017 Rookie of the Year, an essential part of the NFL’s most explosive offense. The only way he wouldn’t return to the field is if he was behind bars.
Don’t forget, the NFL did absolutely nothing to punish Kareem Hunt here. The Chiefs released him immediately after the video surfaced. They handled things, but the NFL just watched idly by. No suspension, no correction, nothing.
When the video released Hunt told ESPN,
“I want to apologize for my actions. I deeply regret what I did. I hope to move on from this.”
Bold stance there, Kareem. What has he done to prove that he does care about women and that he’s rehabbed that behavior?
By what I can gather? Nothing. Browns GM John Dorsey (who drafted Hunt back when he was with the Chiefs) thinks that Hunt “took full responsibility for his egregious actions and showed true remorse.”
Well that was fast! Only three months after a video surfaces where he kicks a woman he’s fully remorsed and ready enough to get back out there. It’s not like the Browns had the entire off season to sign him or weigh other options or anything. Is Nick Chubb no good? Isn’t the running back position not as valuable as we once thought?
Then why did the Browns jump on this deal so quickly? I think it was because there were a lot more suitors for the abuser. They had to get him before someone else did. And with that, the NFL has shown once again that they don’t care about women.
There’s a protocol for when a player gets a concussion, but nothing in place to rehabilitate a player that can’t control himself off the field. Maybe this was just Hunt’s first and only ever instance of violence against women. Maybe we should be more open minded about giving second chances.
Maybe we should remember that kneeling during the national anthem is a more serious crime than kicking a woman while she’s on the ground.
Column by: Connor Sanders
Photo courtesy of unsplash.com