KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WIBW) -- Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt was placed on the NFL’s Commissioner Exemption List on Friday night after video surfaced of the reigning NFL rushing champion knocking over and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel hallway in February.
Shortly after the announcement, the Kansas City Chiefs released a statement saying they were releasing Kareem "immediately." The full statement from the team reads: (emphasis added):
Earlier this year, we were made aware of an incident involving running back Kareem Hunt. 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.
Speaking to ESPN, Hunt reportedly said, "I deeply regret what I did. I hope to move on from this."
Police were called to the scene during the Feb. 10 incident, but no charges were filed. The video posted by TMZ comes at a sensitive time for the Chiefs and the NFL when it comes to domestic violence.
Cleveland police and the NFL did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Hunt was at practice Friday, then was excused and sent home. The Chiefs (9-2) are at Oakland on Sunday.
Being placed on the exempt list means the player is paid and does not count against the club’s 53-man roster. But he can’t practice or play until he is removed from the list.
In August, Chiefs’ CEO Clark Hunt was asked about “some offseason issues” involving Kareem Hunt and if he had any concerns about his running back and said he didn’t expect Hunt to be suspended. During the interview, he said:
“The team is made up of a bunch of young men. They’re not always going to make the best decisions, but we have a strong support system both with the coaching staff and with our player development department that works with young guys and talks to them about the situations that they want to be in. Kareem is a young man, second year in the league, obviously had a very big year on the field last year. I’m sure he learned some lessons this offseason and hopefully won’t be in those kinds of situations in the future.
A source has told the Associated Press that Hunt is headed to the NFL's Commissioner Exempt List, which will sideline him while the league investigates.
Domestic violence has been a major issue in the NFL in recent years. In 2014, a video showed Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancée in an elevator in an Atlantic City hotel. Rice was originally suspended for two games by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who later was heavily criticized for handing out such a light penalty after the video was released. Rice soon after was suspended indefinitely by the league, won an appeal, but was released by the Ravens and never returned to the NFL.
The league then instituted a stronger domestic violence policy, but other incidents have made news, including last weekend when the San Francisco 49ers cut linebacker Reuben Foster.
Last year, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six games by Goodell after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with his girlfriend at the time.
Hunt led the NFL in rushing as a rookie with 1,327 yards and scored eight touchdowns in helping Kansas City make the playoffs. This season, he has run for 824 yards and seven TDs in 11 games, and also has seven touchdowns receiving.