Running back Kareem Hunt was released by the Chiefs hours after video footage published Friday showed him shoving and kicking a woman in a hallway.
“Earlier this year, we were made aware of an incident involving running back Kareem Hunt,” read a statement issued by the Chiefs on Friday night. “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.”
The video of Hunt, obtained and published by TMZ Sports, is related to a February 2018 altercation on an early Saturday morning at The Metropolitan at the 9, Hunt’s hotel apartment in downtown Cleveland. Police were called and a written report was previously made, but video footage was not available until it was published by TMZ.
“I want to apologize for my actions,” Hunt said in a statement to ESPN. “I deeply regret what I did. I hope to move on from this.”
In response to an email from The Star inquiring about the NFL’s knowledge of the video, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, “Neither the NFL nor the Chiefs viewed the video before it became public today.”
According to a source with knowledge of the NFL’s investigation, the hotel told NFL representatives that it could only give video to law enforcement under corporate policy; the NFL contacted the Cleveland Police Department, which did not provide the NFL any video; and the NFL contacted the alleged victims, who did not respond to multiple messages.
Minutes before the Chiefs took action, the NFL said Hunt, who led the league in rushing as a rookie last season, had been placed on the NFL’s Commissioner Exempt List and that it “will include a review of the new information made public today” in the investigation it first opened in February. Hunt cannot practice or play in games for any NFL team while on the exempt list.
The Chiefs and NFL did not take any action against Hunt after the altercation was reported to police in February. Hunt fully participated in Friday’s practice and was in the locker room afterward. He was spotted leaving the Chiefs’ facility at 2 p.m in his vehicle. The video was posted by TMZ at 1:33 p.m. The NFL statement was issued around 7:30 p.m. and the Chiefs released him shortly before 8 p.m.
No charges have been filed stemming from the altercation, which occurred on Feb. 10, but two police reports were created. In one report, 19-year-old Abigail Ottinger is listed as a suspect, and in another Hunt is listed as a suspect.
Ottinger told police that Hunt “shoved and pushed her.” There was no mention of a kick in either police report or in police interviews with involved parties.