NFL null null
(Editor’s note: This story was updated from its orginal version after the Browns announced they signed Kareem Hunt on Feb. 11, 2019. Hunt remains under investigation and could still be suspended by the NFL.) A video that appears to show Browns running back Kareem Hunt shoving and kicking a woman at a hotel in February 2018 was released by TMZ in early December. Hunt, who played for the Chiefs at the time, was cut by Kansas City soon after the video surfaced. In footage captured by security cameras, Hunt, 23, can be seen from m
(Editor’s note: This story was updated from its orginal version after the Browns announced they signed Kareem Hunt on Feb. 11, 2019. Hunt remains under investigation and could still be suspended by the NFL.)
A video that appears to show Browns running back Kareem Hunt shoving and kicking a woman at a hotel in February 2018 was released by TMZ in early December. Hunt, who played for the Chiefs at the time, was cut by Kansas City soon after the video surfaced.
In footage captured by security cameras, Hunt, 23, can be seen from m
Police responded to the altercation, which occurred inside a hotel in Cleveland. No arrests were made, and Hunt did not face criminal charges.
MORE KAREEM HUNT: How the NFL failed under its own policy
The Feb. 10 incident was known to the NFL, Chiefs team personnel and the public based on earlier reporting. Hunt addressed reporters about the accusations and a separate assault allegation prior to the 2018 NFL season, but the video had not been made public until TMZ released it.
Shorly after the video surfaced, the NFL announced it had placed Hunt on the Commissioner Exempt List and would resume its investigation into the Feb. 10 incident, plus the separate assault allegation and, after a TMZ report made it known to the league, a third off-field incident that took place at a nightclub in January.
Hunt may not play, practice or attend games while on the Commissioner Exempt List.
What do we know about the Kareem Hunt video incident?
The incident that was captured by surveillance and released by TMZ occurred Feb. 10 between Hunt and Abigail Ottinger, 19, inside The Metropolitan at the 9, a hotel in downtown Cleveland. Ottinger told police Hunt assaulted her about 3:45 a.m. outside a hotel apartment, according to Cleveland.com.
One police report listed Hunt as a suspect; another police report listed Ottinger as a suspect for allegedly assaulting another woman present at the scene, the Cleveland.com report said. Ottinger told police she refused to have sex with a friend of Hunt, which set off the scuffle. Other witnesses claimed Ottinger used a racist slur toward Hunt.
Charges were not filed, and no arrests were made “because officers say they were unable to determine if a crime had been committed,” according to TMZ.
How has the NFL responded to the Kareem Hunt video incident?
The Chiefs claimed they did not see the footage until it was released, according to The Athletic, but several members of the organization had previously commented on the incident, mostly in an attempt to move on from the situation. Team chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in August, “The team’s made up of a bunch of young men. . . . They’re not always going to make the best decisions, but we have a strong support system, both with the coaching staff and also with our player development department that works with young guys and talks to them about the situations that they want to be in.”
At the time, Clark Hunt did not believe Kareem Hunt would face a suspension from the NFL. Chiefs coach Andy Reid declined to comment on the specifics of the incident when asked about it in June.
Kareem Hunt also addressed the incident with reporters in August, saying he had “learned from it” and was “focused on football.” After he was signed by Cleveland in February, Hunt released a statement:
Statement from RB Kareem Hunt: pic.twitter.com/JPRFnkRdCy
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) February 11, 2019
In December, ESPN reported the NFL felt it did “everything possible from a legal standpoint” in its investigation into the incident. However, according to the report, the NFL never requested an interview with Hunt as part of its investigation. The league reportedly attempted to contact Ottinger and her friend “on multiple occasions, but they did not respond.”
Also per ESPN, “the league said it spoke to as many witnesses who were there as possible and that they said Hunt was not involved, which the video that TMZ released Friday clearly contradicts.” The NFL in its investigation reportedly spoke to the Chiefs following their conversation with Hunt about the incident.
Pro Football Talk reported that “the league made multiple attempts to obtain the video. … The hotel at which the incident occurred explained to the NFL that it would give the video only to law enforcement. … The Cleveland Police Department did not provide any video to the league.”
After the Browns signed Hunt in February, they released a statement from general manager John Dorsey:
Statement from GM John Dorsey: pic.twitter.com/TUgoBalvkg
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) February 11, 2019
What is the NFL’s personal conduct policy?
The NFL’s personal conduct policy explicitly grants the league freedom to punish players even if they are not found guilty of a crime.
According to the policy, “Even if the conduct does not result in a criminal conviction, players found to have engaged in any of the following conduct will be subject to discipline.” It lists “actual or threatened violence against another person” and “disorderly conduct” among potential reasons for sanctions.
Will Kareem Hunt be suspended?
The NFL stipulates a suspension of at least six games for first-time offenses involving assault, meaning the league could (and likely will) still impose a suspension upon the Browns running back once its investigation is complete.
The league placed Hunt on the Commissioner Exempt List, for which the policy states, “In cases in which a violation relating to a crime of violence is suspected but further investigation is required, the commissioner may determine to place a player on the Commissioner Exempt List on a limited and temporary basis to permit the league to conduct an investigation. Based on the results of this investigation, the player may be returned to duty, be placed on the Commissioner Exempt List for a longer period, or be subject to discipline.”
Now with the Browns, Hunt is expected to remain on the Commissioner Exempt List as the league continues its investigation into all three off-field incidents.