The NFL and domestic violence

The Kareem Hunt incident shows the NFL needs to improve its investigations

By on December 4, 2018

Andrew Mather/ Flickr Creative Commons
It is not secret that the NFL and its players have had an issue with domestic violence allegations and incidents, especially since Ray Rice was handed just a two-game suspension in 2014 after brutally beating his then-girlfriend in an elevator.

This caused the NFL to implement a new policy on domestic violence allegations against players, which saw players such as Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott receive six game suspensions for allegations brought against them in the past few years.

The new policy states that, “The league would suspend first-time offenders for six games, and a second offense would result in a lifetime ban from the NFL (in reality, it was an indefinite suspension with the possibility of reinstatement after one year),” according to the Huffington Post.

TMZ released a video of Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt on Friday, Nov. 30, showing him shoving and kicking a woman in his Cleveland residence earlier this year.

The NFL immediately place Hunt on the Commissioner Exempt List and the Chiefs released Hunt from the team after the video went public.

The NFL’s personal conduct policy states that, “In cases in which a violation relating to a crime of violence is suspected but further investigation is required, the Commissioner may determine to place a player on the Commissioner Exempt List on a limited and temporary basis to permit the league to conduct an investigation. Based on the results of this investigation, the player may be returned to duty, be placed on the Commissioner Exempt List for a longer period, or be subject to discipline.”

In addition to that, “A player who is placed on the Commissioner Exempt List may not practice or attend games, but with the club’s permission he may be present at the club’s facility on a reasonable basis for meetings, individual workouts, therapy and rehabilitation, and other permitted non-football activities,” according to the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

While Kansas City was right to release Hunt immediately, this situation brings into question the effectiveness of the NFL investigations into domestic violence allegations.

First of all, the assault by Hunt occurred in February 2018. The NFL conducted its own investigation, but it was determined that they did not interview the woman involved, according to ESPN.

Hunt also lied to the Chiefs in their discussions of the incident earlier this year, something he admitted to on Sunday, Dec. 2.

“I didn’t tell them everything,” Hunt said in an interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters. “I don’t blame them for anything. My actions caused this.”

Hunt owned up to everything that occured in February, even apologizing to the woman in the video, the Chiefs and his own family.

“I was in the wrong,” Hunt said. “I could have took responsibility and made the right decision to find a way to de-escalate the situation.”

Now, Hunt finds himself out of the NFL for the time being, and the league itself faces a looming question.

How did they miss this information in their investigation?

Similar to the Ray Rice case, where the video evidence led to a heftier penalty, the NFL reacted instead of being the first to issue the penalty against Hunt.

While the league reached out to the woman and her friend,they did not answer according to ESPN. The NFL still has to be better in investigating these incidents, especially since they have previously been made aware of them.

“Whenever the league office becomes aware of a possible violation of the Personal Conduct Policy, it will undertake an investigation, the timing and scope of which will be based upon the particular circumstances of the matter,” according to the NFL’s personal conduct policy. “Any such investigation may be conducted by NFL Security, independent parties, or by a combination of the two. In cases that are also being investigated by law enforcement, the league will work to cooperate with and to avoid any conflict or interference with the law enforcement proceedings.”

Unfortunately, there is too much wiggle room with this investigations. With the league finding itself missing on yet another big piece of evidence, they find themselves behind and look bad for being there.

While you can’t completely put the blame on the NFL because it is not a law enforcement agency, there needs to be a faster process to learn the scope of these allegations.

For the truth of the Hunt incident to come to light almost 10 months later and the league be completely clueless is inexcusable.

Hunt’s actions are clear. He committed an act of domestic violence and lied to people who trusted him in the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs organization.

Now, it leaves the league at a crossroads with yet another star player on the wrong side of a scandal that is much bigger than football.

Just like the Ray Rice incident, the league looks as if it is too soft on domestic violence allegations an image in which they have spent the past four years trying to change.

Ray Rice never played in the NFL again.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Kareem Hunt is facing the same fate for his actions.

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