Kareem Hunt, the NFL running back who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs during the season last year after a video surfaced of him assaulting a woman, has been suspended for the first eight games of the 2019 season, the NFL announced Friday.
The suspension was levied for what was termed violations of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
“Kareem Hunt of the Cleveland Browns was notified today that he has been suspended without pay for the Browns’ first eight regular season games for violations of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy in connection with physical altercations at his residence in Cleveland last February and at a resort in Ohio last June,” the league’s statement said.
A video released by TMZ in November was from several months earlier and showed Hunt rushing at, kicking, and shoving a young woman in the hallway of a Cleveland hotel room. The incident was known about and Hunt had not faced criminal charges, but the surfacing of the video led to Hunt being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. He was released by the Chiefs the same day.
The suspension, the NFL said, followed a detailed NFL investigation, which included the study of surveillance video, court records, and more. Hunt also told the league that he accepts responsibility and will “take advantage of available resources to help him grow personally.”
The Hunt incident and its aftermath recalled the infamous incident in 2014 when then-Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught on a video, also reported on by TMZ, punching his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator. Rice had been suspended for two games when the incident was known about, but the release of the video led to an indefinite suspension, Rice’s release by the Ravens, and the end of his NFL career.
Kareem Hunt suspended eight games https://t.co/bY8Ao6LqH0
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The 23-year-old Hunt signed a one-year contract with the Cleveland Browns in February, with the understanding that he would likely be suspended to start the season.
When he returns for Week 9 from the suspension, Hunt will join a Browns offense that now includes star wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., who was acquired in a trade from the New York Giants earlier this week. Nick Chubb was the Browns’ primary running back for most of the 2018 season.
The Browns had a bounce-back season in 2018 after they were winless in 2017, winning seven games under rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. Freddie Kitchens was the named the team’s new coach after the season.