The Kansas City Chiefs released running back Kareem Hunt on Friday night, after TMZ published video earlier in the day that shows Hunt shoving and kicking a woman in a February incident at a Cleveland hotel. Before the Chiefs’ announcement, the NFL released a statement saying that Hunt has been placed on the Commissioner Exempt list.
The Chiefs’ statement on Hunt’s release says that the back was “not truthful” with the organization about what happened in February. “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. 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 video released today confirms that fact. We are releasing Kareem immediately.”
In the hotel surveillance video, Hunt is seen shoving the woman multiple times in a hallway. As other people step in to restrain him, he pushes another person into the woman and she is knocked to the ground. Shortly after, Hunt returns and kicks her. Police who were called to the scene and, TMZ reports, had access to the video, did not arrest or charge Hunt.
The altercation occurred after 3 a.m. ET on Saturday, February 10. According to a police report, the woman and a friend had returned to Hunt’s hotel-room apartment after a night out with him and his friends. The woman told police officers that she and a friend were forced to leave Hunt’s room because she refused to have sex with one of his acquaintances, and that as the women were figuring out how to get home, Hunt entered the hallway, exchanged words with her, and then shoved her. A friend of Hunt’s told police that the women had been asked to leave the hotel room, and that one of the women used the n-word in an ensuing argument.
Hunt issued the following statement after his release: “I want to apologize for my actions. I deeply regret what I did. I hope to move on from this.”
While on the Commissioner Exempt list, Hunt is not allowed to play in games, regardless of whether he is signed to a team. The statement also said, “The NFL’s investigation, which began immediately following the incident in February, will include a review of the new information that was made public [Friday].”
Before either the team or league had commented, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday that, according to a “source familiar with the situation,” neither the NFL nor the Chiefs had viewed the video before its publication on TMZ.
Hunt was also reportedly involved in a separate incident in June, when a man told TMZ that Hunt had punched him in the face at a resort in Ohio. No charges were filed in that case either, and neither the team nor the league took any known disciplinary action against Hunt this offseason for either incident. In August, Chiefs controlling owner, chairman, and CEO Clark Hunt (no relation) told the Kansas City Star that he felt Hunt had learned his lesson. The Chiefs are the same franchise that selected wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who pleaded guilty to domestic abuse charges in 2015, in the fifth round of the 2016 draft.
“The team’s made up of a bunch of young men,” Clark Hunt said in August. “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.
“Kareem is a young man, second year in the league, obviously had a very big year on the field last year. I’m sure he learned some lessons this offseason and hopefully won’t be in those kind of situations in the future.”
This piece was updated with additional information on Friday night.