Kareem Hunt will play football for the Browns in 2019.
Friday morning, Adam Schefter reported the NFL suspended Hunt eight games for his actions during an altercation with a woman in a Cleveland hotel in February of 2018. Video of that altercation surfaced via TMZ in November, and Hunt was immediately placed on the commissioner's exempt list, prohibiting him from participating in football-related activities with the Chiefs.
Statement from Kareem Hunt’s agent Dan Saffron, who is not appealing the eight-game suspension for his client: pic.twitter.com/lJ1s1Ivaek
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2019
The team released him shortly thereafter, opening the door for the Browns, who signed the troubled running back on Feb. 11, 2019.
None of this, however, spoke to the suspension Hunt would receive for the 2019 season. In 2014, Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL after knocking out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City elevator. The incident, like Hunt's, was captured on video, and the Ravens cut ties with the running back in its wake. While Rice eventually won an appeal of that suspension and is technically eligible to sign elsewhere, he has not played a down since.
In a more recent, more confusing and twisting case, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended six games in the 2017 season for an alleged domestic violence incident. You can read a comprehensive timeline of that case right here, but in short, there was no video captured and there are several shaky details involved. Elliott has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the case.
Former Giants kicker Josh Brown also received a six-game suspension in 2017 for a domestic violence incident involving his now ex-wife. Brown admitted to "holding down" his wife after putting his hands on her and kicking a chair.
This is a dangerous and irresponsible place to speculate, so instead I'll focus on the facts at hand. Rice was suspended indefinitely, Elliott and Brown received six-game suspensions and Hunt gets eight games.
To me, it all feels incredibly inconsistent. How is the NFL making its decisions? Hunt's case is most similar to Rice's — there's concrete, visual evidence of Hunt physically attacking a female — yet he gets an eight-game suspension while Rice was effectively banned from football for life.
Hunt's eight-game suspension is only two more games than Elliott's six, when in Elliott's case there's a massive amount of speculation involved. That case is unclear and highly disputed, yet it's equivalent to Brown's, who flatly admitted his wrongdoing and who has a history of domestic abuse and was arrested in 2015 following a physical altercation with his wife.
All this context in mind, eight games feels light for Hunt. I am a firm believer in second chances, and I genuinely hope Hunt learns and grows from this, but I can't help but feel the NFL cut him some unnecessary slack.
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