Kareem Hunt had to go.
When I sat down to write about the controversy surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs decision to release running back Kareem Hunt following the release of a video in which Hunt committed violence against a woman, I wondered, “Is this really necessary?” My question was answered when I saw overwhelming support to petition the Chiefs to change their mind.
As a child, I was taught not to be violent, especially not toward women. I grew up thinking that was common knowledge and something that society had adopted as gospel. We’ve seen professional athletes commit these violent crimes in the past and it would make sense to think that those examples would deter anyone else from making those choices. Instead, in a week where San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was arrested in his team’s hotel on reports of domestic violence, a video of Hunt’s altercation with a woman outside his Cleveland residence that occurred in February found its way into the public eye. The aforementioned video had not been seen by the NFL, the Chiefs or even Hunt himself until it was posted by TMZ Sports Friday.
The Chiefs responded almost immediately and released Hunt the same day, ending the second year running back’s career in Kansas City.
The decision was controversial. But the Chiefs did what they absolutely had to do. As a fan, it’s hard to tell yourself that releasing a top-5 player on your team is the right call. We want to think it wasn’t as bad as it looked or that there were worse instances that garnered less punishment. Even though some might say Hunt’s actions were similar to those of his former Chiefs teammate Tyreek Hill, there is no justifying that Hunt should keep his job. Nevermind what he did that night, the Chiefs said their decision to release Hunt came after they discovered he didn’t fully disclose the details of the altercation revealed in the video in their initial investigation.
I tend to think our fanbase can look past the potential Hunt had to challenge the likes of Jamaal Charles and Priest Holmes for the best running back in Chiefs history and understand we can’t tolerate this behavior, especially from men who are role models in our city.
That just isn’t the case for a sect of the fanbase that created a Change.org petition to urge the Chiefs to reverse their decision. It doesn’t matter how many people sign the petition — it has surpassed 7,000 signatures — because the Chiefs said Hunt will never play for them again upon terminating his contract.
It’s just strange to think we aren’t all on the same page on this one. The decision the Chiefs made to draft Hill with full knowledge of his conviction for domestic abuse cannot be the pillar on which you stand to defend Hunt. Even though we’ve known since the beginning of time that committing violence against women is unacceptable, these decisions can’t be strictly based on precedent. It’s different for a multitude of reasons, beginning with the fact that Hill plead guilty and served a sentence for his crimes.
It doesn’t matter how “bad” Hunt’s actions were — any, and I mean any, violence against women cannot be justified. This isn’t the time – nor is it ever the time – to start spouting off hypothetical “what-ifs” to justify hitting a woman.
The Chiefs had to take a stand and show the league and their fans that this is something they don’t tolerate. An organization that has been praised in the past for working with men who struggled to make good decisions (see Larry Johnson) couldn’t fall on the sword again for Hunt, especially when he didn’t give them the opportunity to help.
Hunt will play again in the NFL, and rightfully so. But he must serve his punishment and take the steps to ensure he doesn’t act violently again — especially considering that the NFL announced it would investigate a separate incident that took place in June and a video released Tuesday by TMZ Sports showing another physical altercation from January. We are a society of second chances, and Hunt will have to prove whether or not he is deserving of one.
We need to be together on this issue. And in 2018, it should be a no-brainer that we don’t want a man who has shown such violent tendencies representing our team.