Kareem Hunt, the previous Kansas Metropolis Chiefs star operating again who was captured on video pushing and kicking a girl, was suspended with out pay for the primary eight video games of the common season by the N.F.L. on Friday.
Hunt, who joined the Cleveland Browns in February, a yr after the incident, is not going to enchantment the suspension, which is able to imply he’ll miss the primary half of the season.
The N.F.L. stated in an announcement that the suspension got here in reference to a bodily altercation at his residence in Cleveland final February and at a resort in Ohio final June.
The league not too long ago accomplished its investigation, which it stated included “reviewing out there legislation enforcement data, video and digital communications, interviews with quite a few witnesses, and a number of interviews with Hunt.”
The eight-game suspension, which is able to begin at first of the common season, is likely one of the heaviest for gamers concerned in abuse and violence instances.
The league’s dealing with of those instances has been underneath intense scrutiny since 2014, when Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Ray Rice for 2 video games after video emerged of him punching his fiancée. The suspension was roundly criticized as too brief, and Goodell later apologized and strengthened penalties for violence and abuse.
Lower than two weeks later, extra vivid video of Rice punching his fiancée was printed by the superstar web site TMZ. The league suspended Rice indefinitely, a penalty that was later overturned, and he has by no means returned to the N.F.L. The league’s insurance policies and investigative talents have additionally been examined in abuse instances involving Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson, Josh Brown and different gamers.
The N.F.L. has employed former prosecutors and others with expertise in investigating misconduct instances. Even so, the league has needed to stroll a tremendous line between taking a tricky stand in opposition to violence in opposition to girls and ready to finish its investigations earlier than deciding whether or not to penalize a participant or league government.
Within the incident at Hunt’s residence, an upscale house in downtown Cleveland, the videotaped altercation with a girl didn’t lead to a police case. Hunt pushed a 19-year-old girl, and was then held again by different males. He broke free, and the girl fell down within the chaos. Hunt then kicked her. Within the resort incident a number of months later, Hunt is accused of punching a person within the face. No prices had been filed in that case both.
The instances renewed debate and dialogue over how significantly the N.F.L. investigates and punishes gamers’ habits off the sphere, significantly fights and assaults which can be reported however don’t lead to police prices.
An examination of the league’s investigation reveals that the N.F.L. relied closely on the phrase of the Chiefs, who had a vested curiosity in preserving their star operating again on the sphere, and didn’t press to independently confirm the account of the incident that Hunt gave to them.
When the video emerged in November, the N.F.L. suspended Hunt, although it had realized of the altercation months earlier. The Chiefs, who additionally knew of the incident lengthy earlier than, then launched him.
The N.F.L. stated it was unable to acquire the video, which TMZ printed. League officers urged that TMZ had paid for the video, which they stated the league wouldn’t do for concern others would possibly attempt to extort cash from the N.F.L.
Hunt had starred as a rookie for the workforce in 2017, main the league in dashing yards, and had performed effectively once more in his second season, gaining 824 yards in 11 video games.
In February, Hunt was signed by the Browns. John Dorsey, the overall supervisor, stated: “Given what we find out about Kareem by way of our in depth analysis, we imagine he deserves a second probability.”
Within the announcement, Hunt was quoted as saying: “First off, I wish to as soon as once more apologize for my actions final yr. What I did was incorrect and inexcusable.”
Signing Hunt was a danger as a result of he confronted disciplinary motion from the league. However the Browns have been wanting to make over the as soon as woeful workforce. After 1-15 and Zero-16 seasons, the workforce, led by the promising rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, raced to a 7-Eight-1 file within the 2018 season, its finest since 2007. Hopes are excessive for a fair higher season subsequent yr: On Tuesday the workforce traded for the receiving celebrity Odell Beckham Jr. from the Giants.
Hunt grew up in a suburb of Cleveland and went to the College of Toledo.
The Browns will not be the one workforce prepared to signal a participant underneath a cloud. In 2015, the Cowboys signed Hardy, a defensive lineman who had been convicted of beating his girlfriend. The case was dismissed on enchantment. The N.F.L. suspended Hardy for 10 video games, however the penalty was lowered to 4 video games on enchantment.
In November, the Redskins claimed linebacker Reuben Foster off waivers after he was launched by the San Francisco 49ers days after he was arrested in Tampa, Fla., on a misdemeanor home violence cost.
The league suspended Foster indefinitely with pay, however the Redskins signed him anyway. The costs in opposition to Foster had been dropped in January.