Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Hunt axed after assault video

LEADING RUSHER:No charges or arrests were made at the time of the incident, but after a video emerged, the NFL immediately put the Chiefs player on its exempt list

AFP, LOS ANGELES

The Kansas City Chiefs decided to cut ties with star running back Kareem Hunt after a video surfaced that appears to show him shoving and kicking a woman, the team announced on Friday.

The Chiefs move came just minutes after the NFL placed Hunt on the commissioner exempt list — meaning he cannot practice or play — after a video of the February incident at a Cleveland hotel was released by the Web site TMZ.

The Chiefs said they decided to release Hunt, who was the league’s rushing leader last season, in part because he hid details from them about the incident.

“Earlier this year, we were made aware of an incident involving running back Kareem Hunt,” a team spokesman said in a statement. “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,” it added.

No one was arrested and Hunt was never charged by police at the time of the incident, but the league’s disciplinary officials acted swiftly after the video was released.

“The NFL has placed Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs on the commissioner exempt list, and as a result, he may not practice, play or attend games,” the NFL said in a statement. “The NFL’s investigation, which began immediately following the incident in February, will include a review of the new information that was made public today.”

Hunt was sent home from the Chiefs’ practice facility soon after the video came out.

Cleveland.com, citing a police report, said at the time that police were called to the building where Abigail Ottinger, 19, accused Hunt, who she had met that evening, of assaulting her, while another woman who was with Hunt’s group said that Ottinger attacked her.

The video appears to be security footage from the hallway of the building. On it, a man identified as Hunt can be seen exchanging words with a woman, shoving her with one hand before she returns and takes a swipe at his face.

Several people intervene and the situation appears to have calmed when Hunt collides with the woman and another man, knocking both over and then kicking the woman.

Hunt has played a key role in the Chiefs’ rise to the top of their division, rushing for 824 yards and seven touchdowns, while adding 26 catches for 378 receiving yards and seven more receiving touchdowns.

Hunt led the NFL with 1,327 rushing yards last season.

Domestic violence has been an issue in the NFL. In 2014, video showed Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who suspended Rice for two games over the incident before the video went public, came in for heavy criticism over the light punishment and Rice was then suspended indefinitely by the league.

Rice won an appeal, but was released by the Ravens and never returned to the league.

The NFL has beefed up its policy regarding domestic violence by players.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended six games after the league investigated allegations that he assaulted ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson, even though Elliott was never arrested or charged.

Last week, the San Francisco 49ers axed linebacker Reuben Foster after the 24-year-old was arrested for allegedly slapping a woman and shoving her at the 49ers hotel in Tampa ahead of their game against the Buccaneers.

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