By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Almost immediately upon seeing surveillance video of Kareem Hunt shoving and kicking a woman, the Kansas City Chiefs released their star running back, who then went unclaimed on waivers. NFL teams are clearly too scared to go near him.
That’s a feeling that will not last.
Though Ray Rice never found NFL employment after one of his two videos leaked (the first video was equally as appalling, though the NFL didn’t mind that one much, and the Ravens supported him unconditionally after that one), he was 27 years old. Though he could still contribute in an NFL offense, his most explosive, effective years were already behind him.
Hunt, on the other hand, is just 23 years old. He led the league in rushing last year as a rookie, and he had 1,200 yards from scrimmage and 14 total touchdowns in 11 games this year. While he’s due to serve a lengthy suspension for this much-publicized incident (plus two more reported incidents of violence against two different men), it’s a near certainty that multiple teams will be interested in signing him whenever the public outcry dies down.
That is a rather harsh and bleak reality, and it was put into perspective rather well by an anonymous NFL executive who spoke to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman.
“He will be back because we can’t help ourselves as a league,” the unnamed executive told Freeman.
The unnamed executive — described as “an AFC team official” and “front office source” — said that when assessing a potential signing like that in black-and-white terms, the pros end up outweighing the cons.
“Show me one example where our league suffered from signing players like Hunt. That’s why he’ll play again,” the source told Freeman. “There are no repercussions for signing guys like him. But there are if you don’t.”
It’s not a shocking quote, not in the least. But it does present a blunt reminder that more than anything, NFL teams value winning football games. Anything else is a mere “distraction” — something to be avoided when possible but can be dealt with as needed.