For disgraced former Kansas City Chiefs standout Kareem Hunt, the road to redemption is going through the “treatment and counseling” route.
Hunt, whose capacity for violent off-field incidents has cost himself his livelihood, hopes to restore his good name and with it, his right to play professional football.
At age 23, he still potentially has a lot of football ahead of him if he can get himself sorted, so he has every reason to take this step.
While the NFL continues to investigate the incidents that caused Hunt’s release from the Chiefs, he has checked himself into counseling for his behavior, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
As Adam Schefter of ESPN points out, this puts Hunt ahead of what would likely be an NFL-mandated counseling regime as a condition of Hunt’s reinstatement.
The incident that sparked this current chain of events involved Hunt pushing and kicking a woman in a hotel hallway in Cleveland in February. TMZ Sports released a video of the incident Nov. 30, and the Chiefs parted ways with the star running back later that day.
Hunt landed on the commissioner’s exempt list, voiding Hunt’s eligibility to appear in NFL games until such time as his penance returns him to the league’s good graces.
Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt offered some measure of support for his former employee in a statement.
“The most important thing is that he gets some counseling that can help him with his issues,” Clark Hunt said Sunday, his first public comments since the video surfaced, according to ESPN. “Certainly we wish the best for Kareem in the future. I hope at some point he’s able to come back to the National Football League. I’m not sure when that will be. Our message to him was, ‘Even though we’re having to part ways with you today, we’re still supportive of you. If you need us to get you some help off the field, we’re going to do that.'”
Hunt also said that the team “had some issues with Kareem not being truthful about what happened that night” and “felt for everybody’s best interest we needed to head into a different direction.”
That’s one sticking point in all this. Nobody has yet publicly revealed how Kareem Hunt was “not being truthful” in regards to his version of the events that happened that night.
He was interviewed by ESPN on Dec. 2, at which time he said that he was “in the wrong” and that he was “sorry for my actions that night,” but one wonders how much of that is “sorry I got caught.”
Hunt was also in hot water with the league from an incident in a resort in June and another, recently revealed incident from a nightclub in January.
Sources close to Schefter wouldn’t speculate on when the NFL’s investigation would be complete, but they did say that all three incidents are under discussion for determining Hunt’s ultimate punishment.
For now, Hunt remains on that commissioner’s exempt list and will continue to be so until the investigation is complete.
As for what happens next?
Well, the NFL is notorious for its capricious decision-making. Hunt might be back on the field when next season starts, or he might end up like Ray Rice and Greg Hardy, never playing pro football again.
Whatever the final outcome, the hope is there that Hunt can address the root cause of his violent behavior and use this moment to become a better person off the football field.
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