The NFL seems so hell-bent on proving it’s a flaming dumpster fire as an organization, it’s not even trying to prove otherwise anymore.
It’s not just the fact that Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned years after making a political statement that it didn’t care for.
It’s not just its historical aversion to addressing the chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) that literally damages its players for life.
It’s not even just the fact that we have to watch the same idiots win championships time and again, or that the most recent Super Bowl halftime show was the equivalent of watching molasses run down a wall in Siberia.
It’s that the league had the unmitigated gall to sign running back Kareem Hunt to the Cleveland Browns in this year of our Lord, 2019.
Hunt was released from the Kansas City Chiefs last November after a video of him throwing hands at and eventually dive-tackling a woman went viral, courtesy of TMZ. He was placed on the Commissioner’s exempt list, meaning he’s still technically needs to be reinstated as the league currently “reviews the tape.” There’s allegedly additional video showing Hunt punching a dude at a resort as well as some other altercation, according to New York Daily News.
For starters, the first video is more than enough. Hunt consistently attempted to attack a woman half his size and body weight. He needs several grown men to keep him from attacking her. I maintain that there’s no reason for a man to strike a woman outside of literally defending himself from attack. And by attack, I mean if she’s wielding a f—ing bazooka or a Hattori Hanzo sword from Kill Bill. A woman running her mouth is nowhere near enough to stoke a physical response from a man who hits and takes hits for a living.
But if the NFL really needs to “review” multiple tapes of one man who has proven he has violence or anger management issues, why is the conversation being had? What additional proof do you need that this one man is awful for your brand and should probably be clipped since you have nearly 1,700 other players to manage? If Hunt was a manager at Steak & Shake and that video dropped, he would’ve lost his job or at the very least been demoted to lettuce specialist.
Yet, the Browns and the league saw fit two months later to welcome him back. Browns Manager John Dorsey issued a statement: “We fully understand and respect the complexity of questions and issues in signing a player with Kareem’s history and do not condone his actions. Given what we know about Kareem through our extensive research, we believe he deserves a second chance but certainly with the understanding that he has to go through critical and essential steps to become a performing member of this organization.”
Because, I mean…he didn’t kill her or anything, right?
Different Player, Same Issue
Sadly, Hunt’s issue has plenty of precedence: In 2014, Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice hit his fiancé so hard on an elevator that she was rendered unconscious. Despite video evidence, Rice was back suiting up with the Ravens half a year later. It took an additional video to show him knocking out a woman the size of his calf muscle for the Ravens to terminate him and the league to suspend him indefinitely.
The outrage over the Rice issue motivated the league to tighten its domestic violence policies. So, why are we still talking about Hunt coming anywhere near his old job with multiple tapes under review?
This is why it’s so enraging to see Kaepernick remain unemployed when he only put his fist up in the air in Black solidarity, not in the sternum of a woman. It’s even more enraging when the MAGA crowd suggests that Kaepernick remains unsigned because he’s a subpar player, when demonstrating the fallacy of that claim is the easiest thing ever to accomplish.
The truth is that the NFL is shamelessly on the ideological side of the people who look at kneeling during the National Anthem as a sign of disrespect, not those who believe that women shouldn’t be struck by muscular mountains of men. They took a look at Hunt’s admittedly impressive stats and decided that he was a worthwhile public relations gamble, but Kaepernick is too “hot” to allow to play.
We’re dealing with a multi-billion-dollar sports league who likes to play plum-dumb when TMZ leaks video and chooses not to act on it until the outrage becomes too much to ignore. One that is so dead-set on “traditional American values” that it blackballs Kaepernick and his supporters but is willing to dedicate valuable time and energy to domestic abusers.
The NFL shows us what it is, time and again: racism and money. Well, racism, money and shitty halftime shows. If you’re still tuning in….why?
Dustin J. Seibert is a native Detroiter living in Chicago. Miraculously, people have paid him to be aggressively light-skinned via a computer keyboard for nearly two decades. He loves his own mama slightly more than he loves music and exercises every day only so his French fry intake doesn’t catch up to him. Find him at his own site, wafflecolored.com.