It should come as a surprise that the Chiefs release of star running back Kareem Hunt has been a widely discussed topic around the NFL.
Roughly six hours after TMZ published the video of Hunt pushing and kicking a woman, the Chiefs cut Hunt on Friday. It was a stunning move.
Here is a sample of what people were saying about the Chiefs and Hunt.
Dan Graziano of ESPN wrote: “Hunt is 23 years old, led the league in rushing last season as a rookie and currently ranks fifth in the league in rushing in the second year of a four-year contract that pays him an average of $610,625 per season. The Chiefs are 9-2 and in position for their best chance at a Super Bowl title since they won it in 1970. Releasing a player of Hunt’s caliber and value was, from a pure-football standpoint, one of the most difficult and detrimental things they could have done to their team.
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“But they did it, and their explanation was simple and direct. ...
“He lied, they say, so he’s out. And just like that, the Chiefs did more for the future of the NFL’s ability to conduct these types of investigations than the NFL ever could do on its own. ...
“So the message the Chiefs sent by releasing Hunt tells players who might find themselves in this situation in the future that they’d better cooperate.
“The Chiefs established a previously unheard of consequence for a player of Hunt’s caliber that should serve as a deterrent to those who might think they could lie and still avoid being caught. It doesn’t matter how good you are, how young you are, how important you are to the team ... you lie about violence against women, you can lose your job.
You can read more of what Graziano wrote here.
ESPN analyst Damien Woody, the former NFL offensive lineman tweeted this message:
Judy Battista of NFL.com wrote: “The issue now is the moral quandary into which Hunt’s release just thrust the other 31 teams.
“Which, if any, will claim Hunt off waivers? Let’s not be naïve. Teams will, at the very least, poke around the case. (Washington) did it earlier this week, when the 49ers released Reuben Foster after he was arrested last Saturday following an alleged domestic violence incident at the team hotel the night before a game. It was not the first time Foster had been accused and arrested and the 49ers finally made the decision they should have made months before.
“But just as quickly, (Washington) reminded everyone that there are still NFL teams where the math boils down to its crudest elements: win at all costs. ...
“Are they the only team that would make such a moral calculus? We’re about to find out, maybe as soon as Monday. Hunt is a wildly talented player at a skill position, a much more impactful player than Foster and Rice before him, whose suspension ended a career that was already fading. Hunt is 23 and has scored 14 touchdowns through 11 games. With him, the Chiefs were the best team in the AFC.”
You can read more of what Battista wrote here.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter relayed this message from a former NFL player:
Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports wrote: “Had they gone soft on Hunt, the Chiefs, who currently sit atop the AFC with a 9-2 record, would have been seen as a team with an indifferent attitude about violence against women. They would’ve likely been mentioned every time another team took a chance on an uber-talented player with that background, just as Washington ... did this week after its waiver claim on Reuben Foster.
“And considering the significant amount of goodwill the Chiefs had to expend locally when they selected Hill in 2015 — much to the uproar of many fans who cited it as an insensitive attitude toward the (Jovan) Belcher shooting (in 2012) — there’s no way they were going to tie themselves to that narrative. Maybe they would for a franchise quarterback, or a longtime team icon. But not for a running back, even one who led the 2017 season in rushing.”
You can read more of what Paylor wrote here.
Christine Brennan of USA Today wrote this analysis: “Just as Ray Rice lost his job four years ago when video of his punch was made public, so too did Hunt lose his job Friday night. One would hope that written details of what these men did would be enough to fire them. But that has not been the case. Seeing it on video was what made it real, and awful. The video sealed the deal.
“Rice, who was 27 at the time, never played another down in the NFL.
“Will that be Hunt’s fate as well?
“Right now, that sounds right. That video is so appalling that the last thing we should be wondering is if Hunt will play in the NFL again. This is a troubled young man who needs to deal with what he did in that hotel in Cleveland, not worry about his next NFL rushing attempt.
“Will there be an opening for him to return to the league someday? Perhaps. But for that to happen, once Hunt deals with the ramifications of his behavior captured on that video, he then should begin to follow in the footsteps of none other than Rice.
“In the four years since he hit his then-fiancé, now his wife, Janay Palmer Rice, in that elevator, Rice has devoted his life to making amends for his dreadful behavior. He has made numerous speaking appearances in front of high schools, colleges and other groups, trying to prevent young men from doing what he did.”
You can read more of what Brennan wrote here.
Ross Tucker of Sirius XM tweeted this:
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote: “Whatever the contentions or private explanations, here’s the reality: If the league learned anything from the Ray Rice case, it learned that it must do anything and everything to track down any and all available video of any alleged incident involving a player, because it always must be assumed that the video eventually will be obtained by TMZ. And if the league opted not to do that in Hunt’s case, the only explanation (other than gross incompetence) is that the NFL has decided to search for a middle ground between Rice and (Dallas’ Ezekiel) Elliott, one that entails swift and decisive action when required along with a commitment to focusing only on football unless and until the hand of the Shield is forced.
“If that’s the compromise, it may not be the right one. Because it may not be enough to suddenly say, ‘Oh, there’s video? We tried to get the video but no one would give us the video. Well, now that there’s video, that changes everything.’
“As a multi-billion-dollar operation that is far bigger and more powerful than TMZ, it’s fairly presumed that the league has the ability to get anything that TMZ is able to get. And if the NFL doesn’t have the current internal expertise to get videos that TMZ seems to always obtain, maybe the NFL needs to hire someone from TMZ to help the NFL figure out how to get those videos.
“That’s the biggest flaw in the balance the NFL currently seems to be trying to strike. Given the power of video, the league should always be relentless when it comes to tracking down any and all video of any player incident, since it always should be assumed that the video will inevitably emerge.”
You can read more of what Florio wrote here.