Kareem Hunt cleared waivers and is a free agent. This comes after the 23-year-old accumulated over 2,000 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in two seasons since bursting onto the scene as a relative unknown from Toledo last year. That is the sort of production and story any team would love to have.
Of course, there’s a reason for that including Hunt’s recent video which shows him assaulting a woman in February. I’m not one to defend anyone with domestic violence issues but that isn’t the case with Kareem Hunt.
As a member of RaiderNation, I understand why the team has a zero tolerance policy towards domestic violence. Again, this isn’t that.
Still, that does not make Kareem Hunt’s situation any less serious. Hunt is on video visibly pushing a woman, seemingly ignoring attempts from his friends and girlfriend to calm down and kicks the girl while she’s on the ground. Those are alarming images especially when we live in a reactionary society.
On that same note, context does matter. If you believe Hunt and his friends, the woman was banging the door to their room and calling them the N-word. This is after the underage and drunk woman followed them to the room and they called security to escort them out.
Moreover, this is nowhere near the level of violence as Foster, Rice or Greg Hardy. Even his teammate Tyreke Hill was accused of a far more violent crime. Holding it in the same breathe is lazy.
Still, Hunt lied to the team and that was the deal breaker for them. Plus, it came out that Hunt also got in trouble at a club in January. He also hit somebody at a resort in June. None of the three victims pressed charges but that is a lot of violence from one person in one year.
Either way, it is expected he will face more than the minimum of a six game suspension, per NFL.com. Under Armour also dropped their endorsement of him. Is there an NFL team willing to take a chance? Could the SIlver and Black get Hunt on a discount?
The Raiders argument for taking Hunt
Obviously, the pro-Hunt argument begins with production. The Raiders know him too well since he played for the division rival Chiefs.
It is hard to find a running back with his physicality and versatility. He’d be an ideal scheme fit with Oakland too.
Running back is a need since Oakland hasn’t drafted one in the first few rounds in a few years. Plus, Marshawn Lynch isn’t coming back this season and his deal is up after this year.
Moreover, the Raiders just had a game where all three of their running backs fumbled at one point.
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Outside of that, he apologized for the February incident. He accepted blame for his actions including withholding info from the Chiefs. Hunt said he was raised better than that by his mom and grandma. He also said he was willing to go through counseling so this doesn’t happen again. Hunt has not been arrested or faced charges yet either. The NFL also didn’t even ask Hunt about the incident.
Further, Kareem is also only 23. Giving him a second chance now while the league has turned their back on him would be a great sign of future trust.
Not to mention, the Raiders aren’t afraid of off-field incidents. Their o-line coach has his own D.V. and punching coaches reputation. They also took a chance on signing Daryl Worley and drafting Arden Key. Don’t forget the drafted Gareon Conley when he was going through legal things too. There was also Aldon Smith and a bunch of guys they took chances on historically.
The case against Hunt
Either way, Hunt’s case is different for multiple reasons. First, there is video in this incident. Even if you don’t think the video itself is that bad, it makes you wonder how out of control Hunt can get behind closed doors. Second, Hunt has three incidents in the calendar year.
Even if he isn’t guilty of a crime, that is far too frequent of an occurrence for anyone let alone a franchise NFL player. It is hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. At the very least, Hunt is guilty of putting himself in bad situations, hanging around bad people or not keeping his emotions under control.
Then there’s the whole issue of not knowing when he is going to play again. We’ve already seen how inconsistent and drawn out the NFL’s disciplinary process can be. Check Zeke Elliott’s ordeal last year.
Ultimately, signing Hunt would send the wrong message. Luckily, the risk the Raiders have taken on the roster haven’t backfired. Still, signing Hunt could signal that it doesn’t matter what you get caught on tape. Again, a bad message to send especially when you consider the timeliness of this whole matter and the fact that Raiders have stood against D.V. for a long time.
But don’t fool yourself into thinking the Raiders haven’t or aren’t considering Hunt. Violence, domestic and otherwise, is a societal issue. Moreover, plenty of people remain employed that committed these offenses.
Either way, the Raiders would probably be best to sit the Kareem Hunt sweepstakes for now. At the very least, they better wait until the dust settles and Hunt has some time to work on his anger and decision making. Between Gruden’s signing, his transactions, and the franchise’s pending move to Las Vegas, I am not sure the Raiders could take any more divisiveness including Hunt’s addition.