The latest ugly episode for the NFL and their players off the field conduct issues ended with a move that shocked the football world. Last year’s leading rusher Kareem Hunt is currently unemployed after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs.
It was almost the same old story for the NFL
At first this story seemed like just another dark chapter for the NFL and their players.
Another football player hit another female.
Right now one of best players in the league is unemployed at 23 years old.
This move by the Chiefs helps take some of the responsibility when dealing with team conduct policy from the NFL and puts it squarely on each team and their respective front offices.
A lot of people will criticize how the NFL handled the investigation into this incident but the reality is when they choose to look into something without the help of law enforcement, they have no authority to make individuals speak to them that aren’t league employees.
Apparently they tried speaking to individuals on the tape including the victim but they all refused.
The Kansas City Chiefs have set the bar very high
Casual NFL fans might think that the Chiefs did exactly what they’re supposed to do, they got rid of someone with obvious control issues.
The truth is not that long ago, he wouldn’t have been cut given his age and talent. The Chiefs would have justified it by saying he hasn’t been charged with anything and in fact Cleveland police saw the tape.
The thing that has to be taken into context is how difficult a move this was from a business standpoint.
The Chiefs are one of the best teams in the NFL.
At the moment Las Vegas gives them the 3rd best odds of winning the Super Bowl just behind the Saints and the Rams.
That’s right, Kansas City is the favorite in their conference ahead of the mighty Patriots. Most people in Kansas City would agree this is the best chance to win the Super Bowl since they last did it back in 1970.
Kareem Hunt is either the Chiefs second or third best player depending on who you ask.
So what does this mean for the rest of the league?
Simply put it means even if you have a chance to win the title, it doesn’t matter
If one of your key players breaks the league’s personal conduct policy, he has to go.
Obviously context matters and shockingly, a lot of Chiefs fans do not agree with the team’s decision to part ways with Hunt even after seeing that video.
Take one look at Twitter and you will find hundreds of messages either thanking Hunt for his time with the team, wishing him well in the future and even some people that are angry with the team.
In a twisted way, it is understandable that people would be upset to lose a 23-year-old that led the league in rushing as a rookie and was top 5 this year while making less than $700,000. He’s a player that was just scratching the surface of his talent and just like that, he’s gone.
The Chiefs fans that are upset about the decision to let him go have reason to be angry at loosing one of their best players.
It still doesn’t make it right though.
Will Kareem Hunt ever play again?
That’s a question that’s impossible to answer today.
The likely answer is yes because he is one of the best players in the league at his position and he hasn’t even come close to his prime yet.
Those that are comparing him to Ray Rice are ignoring that Rice was already past his best when that horrible video of him punching his then girlfriend now wife surfaced.
It was an easy decision for the Baltimore Ravens to cut ties with a player past his best.
Now because of the Kansas City Chiefs and their swift decision to make a move that is clearly not in their best interest business wise, the rest of the league will have to hold their all of their players accountable regardless of talent.
There is no option.
The Chiefs have set the bar for the league and for that the NFL is in a better place.