Following the news this week that a league source told ESPN that Kareem Hunt would have a job “sooner than later,” violence against women, specifically as it relates to professional athletes, is once again in the news.
There are many opinions about this, as there should be. Any time you deal with such a tempestuous subject you expect there to be varying observations. At its core, this was an act of violence committed by a male professional athlete against an unidentified woman. Just to say that sentence out loud should set off alarms. But these days we receive our news in different ways, reported across different mediums. There are audio files, cellphone videos, and security camera videos. We are getting text messages, social media updates, and tweets. What happened to the good old days when we had police reports/arrests and the 6 o’clock news?
Football is a violent sport. That violence, however, should stay between the lines and not spill out into anyplace else. The problem is, we are humans, which means we are not perfect and thus susceptible to mistakes. These players are given a king’s ransom. They find themselves on their own for the first time, and suddenly a character flaw that was masked all their life might find itself right out in front, defining them for the world to see. We as football fans agree that violence of the nature Kareem Hunt displayed will not be tolerated. The NFL has to make sure to not let this type of behavior ever define what the shield stands for. But we are a forgiving society. I know there are people who believe that violence of this nature needs to have zero tolerance (I agree), and those people have expressed that not allowing this young man to ever play again might be the proper sentence. I don’t agree, and not just because the evidence of the incident was a non-audio, video surveillance tape that does not show the entire story. Then again, the Ray Rice incident was also a video but of a more gruesome manner.
The NFL will surely still suspend Kareem after he comes off of the commissioner’s exemption list and signs with another team. He will need to continue anger management and finally answer for the incident that he originally reported to the Chiefs was nothing until the video surfaced. He will have to carry this incident with him the rest of his NFL career and beyond. But when given a second chance, we can all hope that he works to set an example for our society that this behavior is correctable and that he is repentant for his actions.