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‘Money matters more than women.’ Browns, NFL criticized for Kareem Hunt signing

Listen to the 911 call of woman who said she was assaulted by Kareem Hunt

Listen to the 911 call from the Cleveland Police Department of a woman who said she was assaulted by Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt.
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Listen to the 911 call from the Cleveland Police Department of a woman who said she was assaulted by Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt.

Seventy-one days after the Chiefs cut running back Kareem Hunt, he landed a new job with the Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland announced on Monday it had signed Hunt, who was released by the Chiefs on Dec. 1 after a video showed him kicking and pushing a woman in a hotel.

A number of national media members criticized the move because of the message it sent about the NFL’s feelings about women. Here is a sample of was written and said.

Mike Tanier of Bleacher Report wrote a story with the headline, “NFL proves it has learned absolutely nothing as Kareem Hunt signs with Browns.”

“Five years ago, footage of a football player violently assaulting a woman sparked around-the-clock coverage from hard-news outlets,” Tanier wrote. “Owners held press conferences to quell the outrage caused by the cover-up. We had a nationwide conversation about violence against women, its root causes and how the NFL can be part of the solution.

“Now, many of us are reluctant to even make fun of the Browns for doing something stupid and awful because the Browns are a feel-good story. Heck, the whole darn NFL is a feel-good story. Bright new stars like Patrick Mahomes! Eternal champions like Tom Brady! Tense playoff duels! Young hotshot coaches! Ratings! Revenues!”

ESPN’s Maria Taylor talked about her disappointment on the network’s “Get Up” program:

Nancy Armour of USA Today wrote a column with the headline, “Banishing Kareem Hunt from the NFL forever doesn’t do him, or anyone else, any good.”

“It would be nice,” Armour wrote, “if we lived in a world where there was zero tolerance for physical and sexual abuse, where the health and safety of women mattered as much as the power and privilege of men. But we don’t.

“Almost five years after Ray Rice, NFL owners remain a not-so-shining example of that mindset. As long as Greg Hardy can take down a quarterback, Ezekiel Elliott can run through daylight and Josh Brown can kick a 50-yard field goal, the bruises and shattered psyches they inflict on women are considered acceptable tradeoffs.”

Chris Williams of SportsNet New York wondered if Browns general manager John Dorsey would have made this move if Dorsey’s daughter been Hunt’s victim:

Toni Van Pelt, the president of the National Organization For Women, told NBC News that Hunt’s signing sent a terrible signal.

“The message this sends is that money matters more than women,” said Van Pelt told NBC News. “Women don’t matter to the NFL, which is rather surprising because they’re a big part of the viewer audience.”

Chris Carlin of WFAN in New York tweeted:

Jenny Vrentas of Sports Illustrated wrote a story with the headline, “Kareem Hunt could have earned his way back into the NFL — but not this quickly.”

“When Dorsey was asked at the press conference where the team stands on violence against women,” Vrentas wrote, “he deferred to ownership and said, ‘I’m not going to be the spokesperson for the organization with regards to that.’ The signing, of course, makes a statement on its own. While Dorsey’s decision to meet with the local media may have been well-intentioned, his comments were—as is too often the case—lacking in the depth and specificity for which the situation called. Perhaps that’s partly because, in this short time frame, Dorsey could not possibly have enough evidence of how Hunt has learned from his actions and worked to change his behavior, certainly not to the extent to which the general manager could have conviction that this young player will not be violent again. If Dorsey believed that Hunt’s being a part of the Browns could provide him structure and incentive to stay on track, he did not take the opportunity to detail that in his press conference.”

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From covering the World Series to the World Cup, Pete has done a little bit of everything since joining The Star in 1997. He writes about baseball and has a quirky blog that augments The Star’s coverage of area teams.