The NFL’s ‘willful ignorance,’ and how it botched the Kareem Hunt case

Kareem Hunt apologized to the world, the Kansas City Chiefs organization, his family and his close friends before he finally got around to apologizing to the young woman he shoved and kicked in February — more than seven minutes into Sunday’s interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters. But just as telling about the assault that ultimately cost Hunt his job was his confirmation that the league had never interviewed him about it.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Hunt talked to the Chiefs after the assault outside his Cleveland hotel residence, and the Chiefs then talked to the league, and then Hunt was free to play 11 games and to help his team emerge as a Super Bowl contender. NFL officials accepted a version of events first supplied by a star running back invested in protecting his career, and then passed along by a team invested in keeping said difference-maker on the field, as part of yet another investigation and decision exposed as disturbing, revealing and woefully inadequate by a video aired on TMZ.

“It should surprise me, but it doesn’t,” said Kathy Redmond, who founded the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes more than 20 years ago. “These are non-investigations. It goes back to willful ignorance, and arrogance and hubris on the part of the NFL. It feels like everything the NFL does is on the surface, and to address PR and the brand they have to protect.”

Yes, the NFL says it did try (and fail) to obtain the video from Cleveland police and the hotel, and did try (and fail) to interview the victim it described in a Sunday statement as a “complainant.” That statement said the league’s “ongoing” investigation will include more attempts to interview “the complainants involved in the incident. It will include a review of the new information that was made public on Friday — which was not available to the NFL previously — as well as further conversations with all parties involved in the incident.”11

“Our investigation identified a number of investigative steps that the League did not take to acquire additional information about what occurred inside the elevator. League investigators did not contact any of the police officers who investigated the incident, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, or the Revel to attempt to obtain or view the in-elevator video or to obtain other information. No one from the League asked Rice or his lawyer whether they would make available for viewing the in-elevator video they received as part of criminal discovery in early April. And, after the initial contacts with the Ravens in the immediate aftermath of the incident, League investigators did not follow up with the Ravens to determine whether the team had additional information.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

That report was dated Jan. 8, 2015. Nearly four years later, with Mueller a bit tied up at the moment, it sure would be interesting to see what an independent review of the Hunt “investigation” would turn up.

Understand this: By making multiple attempts to speak with witnesses and to secure the video from hotel officials and law enforcement — even after Cleveland police decided they wouldn’t file charges against Hunt — the league believes it has been more aggressive in the Hunt case than it was in the Rice case, a low standard indeed. An NFL spokesman declined comment when emailed this question: “Why didn’t the league interview Kareem Hunt after the alleged assault?” A person with knowledge of the case said investigators always prefer to speak with the victim of an alleged crime before they speak with the alleged perpetrator, and that the woman’s refusal to respond to the league’s requests for an interview scuttled the plan to interview Hunt.