In February of 2018, Kareem Hunt, then a Kansas City Chiefs running back, assaulted a woman in the hallway of his residence. The event, which was captured by the building’s security cameras, shows Kareem knocking a woman over, pushing, and finally kicking her in an altercation which involved other individuals trying to restrain him. That video, released by TMZ Sports, did not emerge until just recently.
Last week, after 10 months of non-action and 11 active games for the Chiefs, Kareem Hunt was let go. He subsequently requested an interview with ESPN’s Lisa Salters where he could apologize.
Except he didn’t really.
Sure he said the words, and he expressed what appeared to be regret, but it seemed like just another PR exercise in trying to preserve a career without truly admitting guilt. And as per usual, the apology of the transgressor was misguided starting with the first thing he said in the interview.
Honestly, I just want to let the world know how sorry I am for my actions and ya know it’s been a tough time for me…
OK let’s stop there. What specifically has been tough about this time? The fact that you lied for nearly an entire year about assaulting a woman and were just caught? This keeps happening. If you want to apologize, don’t start off by making the apology about you! It only took you 20 words to mention your pain.
Also, to go back, the first person you should be apologizing to isn’t the world. You did not assault the world. The first apology should be to the person you hurt. But it appears Kareem Hunt was more interested in trying to repair his image in the eyes of the public, the fans, and the people who employ him, than the woman he actually shoved, knocked over and kicked.
I’m extremely embarrassed because of that video.
Embarrassed? That was the strongest word you could come up with? I would call it disgusting. Or dehumanizing. Or shameful. Lisa Salters doesn’t dwell on this and continues on by saying “The images in the video speak for themselves. What more is there for you to say?”
I’m, I’m definitely not that type of person…
Whether or not you think you are a type of person, you are judged by your actions. By your behavior. You hit a woman, you lied about it, your life continued. He then tries the familiar method of mentioning his connection to women to support his character.
And my mother raised me right, I was raised by my mom and my grandma.
Don’t bring them into this. You want to make it seem like you respect and value women, how about you apologize to them? You don’t get to claim innocence by association. Just because you were born of woman doesn’t mean you can’t be abusive. Association is not absolution.
And it was just us and they’ve always taught me well and I know right from wrong and I’m always a person who always want to make everybody happy.
OK well, none of this relevant.
Kareem continues throughout the interview to start sentences with the word “honestly.” Which, honestly… doesn’t make me believe you. If you have to keep telling people you are being honest that is a bad sign. And do you know why? Because you lied for 10 months so you could keep your job. So why should we believe you now? If you don’t tell the truth in the beginning, why should we believe you from that point forward?
Something we see over and over again is the dehumanization of women at the hands of men. They are treated not just as less than but as objects. Kareem’s apology again showcases an inability to acknowledge the victim of his crime.
That person in that video did not deserve that. I didn’t mean to hurt anybody or anything like that.
Yes, you are right. But it wasn’t just a person it was a woman. She didn’t deserve it. But if you didn’t want to hurt anybody you probably shouldn’t have shoved people or kicked a woman while she was on the ground.
I just want to apologize to everybody The Chiefs organization, my family, and close friends. I’m taking actions to learn from this and do everything possible to be a better man.
Missing from that list of apologies is, of course, the “person” you assaulted and these non-specific “actions” you are taking. We need to know what you mean when you say actions. Did you enter anger management? Are you seeing a therapist? Are you working with women’s groups?
I realized what I did once I saw the video.
What does that mean? Did you not realize you had an altercation or the severity of it? Did you not realize you kicked a woman? If comprehension of our actions is dependent on witnessing video playback then we have arrived in a terrifying reality that allows us to abdicate all responsibility. That is unacceptable.
I’m not the type of person to think about ever putting my hands on anyone.
Again, whether or not you are the type, you did it. You don’t get to put emphasis on who you were before the incident to diminish the impact of your actions. What are you doing right now to ensure this never happens again?
Yes the NFL could be doing much more and their failure to properly investigate this incident is once again paramount. Katie Nolan does a great job of covering continued failings in this segment on her show. I do think the NFL’s impact on these issues could be much more significant if they only did what they already said they were going to do.
But ultimately this isn’t about football or Kareem Hunt. This is about the mistakes we make as men and how we take responsibility and make amends. Every man makes mistakes but if we don’t hold them accountable for their words, what hope do we have for their actions?
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