The Canadian Football League would respect the NFL discipline for running back Kareem Hunt.
The Kansas City Chiefs released Hunt on Friday night after a video surfaced that showed the NFL’s reigning rushing champion knocking over and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel hallway in February.
There is nothing stopping a CFL team from adding Hunt to its respective negotiation list, however, whether the league would register the contract of Hunt is a whole other topic. Under the CFL constitution, the commissioner has the right to reject the contract of a player he feels brings “brings disrepute to the league or the game of football. As of Saturday night, Hunt was not on any franchise’s negotiation list.
“No one will want to deal with that negative public relations situation and he can’t get into Canada anyways with that on his record,” one CFL personnel man said. “He’s ineligible for the CFL with any domestic violence on his record.”
The Chiefs issued a statement shortly after the NFL had placed Hunt on its Commissioner Exemption List that said the running back lied when asked about the incident by team officials. The team said “the video today confirms that fact. We are releasing Kareem immediately.” Hunt was at the Chiefs’ facility Friday in preparation for Sunday’s trip to Oakland, but he was excused and sent home shortly after TMZ posted the video online. It shows Hunt being restrained several times by friends before pushing a woman to the ground, where he proceeds to kick her. Police were called to the scene during the Feb. 10 incident, no charges were filed.
“Earlier this year, we were made aware of an incident involving running back Kareem Hunt. At that time, the National Football League and law enforcement initiated investigations into the issue,” the Chiefs said. “As part of our internal discussions with Kareem, several members of our management team spoke directly to him. Kareem was not truthful in those discussions.”
The Chiefs and the NFL have been aware of Hunt’s incident since it occurred, but the video brought a new dimension to the case. It showed Hunt lunging toward a woman and several others in the hotel hallway, and the second-year pro being restrained several times before knocking two people down. While no charges were filed from the altercation, two police reports were created. Hunt is listed as the suspect in one of them and a woman, Abigail Ottinger, is the suspect in the other one. Hunt also was involved in a June incident, according to TMZ, in which he allegedly punched a man at an Ohio resort. The man Hunt struck declined to press charges.
“I want to apologize for my actions. I deeply regret what I did,” Hunt said in a statement. “I hope to move on from this.”
When asked about the incidents in training camp, Hunt said “I’ve learned from it.” When asked to elaborate: “Just be in the right place at the right time.”
Hunt had exhibited a pattern of questionable behaviour dating to his college days at Toledo, where he shattered school records but also was suspended his junior season for violating team rules.
Hunt led the NFL in rushing as a rookie with 1,327 yards and eight touchdowns in helping Kansas City make the playoffs. He had run for 824 yards this season, with seven touchdowns rushing and seven more receiving, in helping the Chiefs to a 9-2 start and a lead in the AFC West. He had six games of at least 100 yards rushing and helped Kansas City win consecutive division titles for the first time, a season that ultimately landed Hunt in the Pro Bowl. Hunt was off to another good start this season, his rushing yardage putting him fourth in the NFL and his touchdown total trailing only the Rams’ Todd Gurley II and the Saints’ Alvin Kamara.
– with AP files
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