The Breakout Live teams debates whether Kareem Hunt will ever play in the NFL again, and if he ever should.
George “Cannonball” West
If you think last Friday was the end of Kareem Hunt’s career, let me give you three names. Joe Mixon punched a young woman in the face and broke her jaw. The entire incident was captured on video. Despite the incident being universally known and seen, Mixon was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2017 draft. Tyreek Hill was charged with choking and assaulting his pregnant 20 year-old girlfriend. Despite this incident being public knowledge, Hill was drafted by the Kansas City chiefs in 2016 and is currently their starting receiver. Leonard Little drove drunk in 1998 and killed a St. Louis mother who had two children in the car. He drove drunk again six years later. Regardless, Little continued to play for the Rams for 12 seasons.
Hunt pushed and kicked a woman; he did not knock her out and break her jaw; he did not punch her in the pregnant belly and choke her; and he did ram her car with her kids in it while driving drunk and kill her. The precedent is set; Hunt will be reinstated, signed by a new team, and cheered by fans every Sunday.
Will he? Probably. But he’ll have to sit out a while. Goodell is going to be very embarrassed by his own lack of response to the Hunt episode last February, and Hunt himself will pay the price for that, just like Ray Rice. You can take whatever suspension Hunt deserves and double it, because Roger is once again try to cover for being a lousy, arbitrary commissioner when it comes to player discipline by trying to show he’s boss. But if Hunt says all the right things and submits to counseling and community outreach, he’s young and talented enough to get a shot with someone else, unlike Ray Rice whose age and mileage made him unworthy of the PR risk to NFL teams.
Should he? His actions were deplorable, and if he had not been held back, I’m afraid the victim could have been in worse shape than Rice’s fiancé. I’m all in favor of giving guys second chances, but I have to throw this one back on the NFL owners: If Colin Kaepernick is not worth employing because he kneels during the anthem, does Kareem Hunt deserve to be employed after repeatedly attacking a woman? The NFL owners will answer that question the way they always do: by judging its impact on the bottom line.
Senior News & Fantasy Editor
Yes. Who started at running back for the Redskins on Monday Night Football? (Adrian Peterson got another chance despite a scandal involving lashing his child with a stick). Hunt is unlikely to be claimed on waivers thanks to the backlash created when the Redskins claimed Reuben Foster minus a videotape. However, despite the NFL sounding like it’s going to give him more than a 6-game suspension, some team will decide Hunt’s ability is more than enough to justify adding him all in the name of winning, and PR hit be darned.
As to whether he should ever play again? As much as I hate seeing anyone’s life defined by a single moment in time, it’s not like Hunt’s been a choir boy minus this incident. Rather, he reportedly assaulted a man over the summer. There needs to be some taboo things a player can’t do and play again in the NFL, and domestic violence should be atop that list.
Based on the rules that have been put in place by the NFL, no, he shouldn’t be allowed to ever play in the NFL again. But Hunt’s situation is a perfect microcosm for why he still might. The NFL has proven that their rules are complete garbage and really don’t mean diddly-squat. Take Reuben Foster, who has been arrested thrice in the last year (twice for domestic violence), and the Redskins went ahead and claimed him off waivers anyway. Cool.
Ray Rice never saw the field again after his video surfaced, and Foster may not, either. But like Foster, all it takes is one team to sign Hunt because they “believe in second chances” or “want to help him get his life together” and we’re right back where we started. Selfishly, I’m bummed out because I loved watching Kareem Hunt play. But this issue is clearly bigger than football and Hunt is clearly not a good dude. But that doesn’t mean a team won’t be willing to risk PR suicide if he can help them win football games, which is why the NFL’s concept of zero tolerance is so deeply flawed to begin with.