Why the Kareem Hunt signing is a bad look for the NFL

          Yesterday the Cleveland Browns signed free agent running back Kareem Hunt to a one year, one million dollar deal. For a player of his caliber, that deal would seem relatively small, and not something that Hunt would want to sign. However, Hunt doesn’t really have a choice, and is actually extremely lucky to be getting a deal of any kind.  

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Image: Kareem Hunt in his Chiefs uniform 2018

          Hunt is currently on the Commissioner’s exempt list, meaning he cannot practice, play, or even be with his new team until he is taken off the list. Hunt was placed on the list on November 30th 2018 after a video was released showing Hunt pushing, shoving, and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel back in February 2018. Along with being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, the Kansas City Chiefs released the 24 year-old running back, making him a free agent.

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Image: TMZ Sports showing Hunt attacking and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel Feb. 2018

          Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey released this statement following the signing yesterday. “Given what we know about Kareem through our extensive research, we believe he deserves a second chance but certainly with the understanding that he has to go through critical and essential steps to become a performing member of this organization, aside from what the NFL determines from their ongoing investigation”.

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Image: Browns general mnager John Dorsey

          Hunt was never charged or arrested for his actions that night, but the video evidence of him committing the crime is pretty clear. Currently there is an investigation going on and commissioner Roger Goodell recently stated that the investigation of Hunt would be completed in early March, meaning if the league does not find him guilty in their eyes, Hunt will be taken off the Commissioner’s exempt list and be allowed to participate in team activities pending a suspension.

 

          The signing of Hunt signifies a bigger problem for the NFL, and that problem is that the NFL has no set laws or punishments for players who are caught committing acts of domestic violence whether they are charged or not. In the last five years alone, there have been multiple high profile cases of domestic violence in the NFL, yet each case had a different outcome.

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Image: Add campaign created to showcase Domestic Violence in the NFL from Youtube

          Ray Rice in 2014 was caught knocking out his fiance in an elevator, then dragging her body out. His first punishment he received was a two game suspension, creating backlash for the league as this disciple was light. This incident cause the NFL to implement a new rule regarding domestic violence, stating first time offenders would receive a six game suspension without pay, and 2nd time offenders would be banned for life.  

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Image: Ray Rice and wife at press conference talking about the incident

          The very next year in 2015, Greg Hardy was charged with assault of his then girlfriend, and pictures began to circulate throughout the internet of the damage caused from Hardy’s assault. Hardy was suspended in April 2015 for the first ten games of the year. However, after appealing to the NFL, his suspension was reduced from ten games to four games before he had even served any of his punishment.

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Image: Greg Hardy’s girlfriends shoulder bruised after taking beating from Hardy

           In 2016 Giants punter Josh Brown came out an admitted he was abusing his wife and had been for years. The league decided on a one game suspension for the punter. Despite all the allegations, the Giants decided to reward Brown with a two year, four million dollar contract.

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Image: Josh Brown on field

          All of these actions can be pointed back to one fact- the NFL administration cares more about profiting from violent star players than the victims of domestic violence. The league may come out, hand out punishments, and make rules for people who break the agreements put in place. But as a wise man once said to me, “your actions speak louder than your words”. The NFL’s actions in all of these cases have spoken volumes to how they really feel.

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Image: NFL logo under a Microscope

          If the NFL really cared about the victims of domestic violence and its effects of their families, they wouldn’t allow players to sign million dollar contracts before their investigations were finished. They wouldn’t reduce suspensions for players who clearly crossed the line and put the lives of others at risk. They wouldn’t change how long suspensions should be just because a player went and said sorry or tried to paint a different picture of the situation. They wouldn’t allow players to continue to make millions of dollars after they had been convicted of this crime, just because the player admitted they were wrong.  But guess what, the NFL allows all that to happen, and until something is really done about it, they will continue to allow it to happen.

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Image: List of arrests of NFL players

          When you think about all of this, is taking a knee during the national anthem as bad as beating a woman? As proven by the NFL’s actions, taking a knee is worse, just ask Colin Kaepernick. So Roger, the ball is in your court again, what are you going to do to fix this problem in the NFL?

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Image: Roger Godell

What do you think of the signing? What should the NFL do about this problem? Leave a comment and let me know, and as always, thanks for reading.

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