When TMZ released a video of now-former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt shoving and kicking a 19-year-old woman at a Cleveland hotel in February on Friday, it marked the first time that either the team or the NFL had seen the footage, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
As it turns out, there may be a reason the Chiefs had not done so.
The Athletic's Nate Taylor reported Saturday that the franchise knew video evidence existed but was instructed by the NFL not to pursue it as the league investigated the situation. In the end, though, the league was not able to acquire it.
The video surfaced Friday. (Warning: Video contains disturbing material.)
That evidence led the league to place Hunt on the commissioner exempt list. Not long after that decision, the Chiefs opted to release the second-year back. Per the team's official website, Hunt had not been honest with the organization when initially approached about the matter:
"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."
Taylor reported that Kansas City only became aware of the incident via police reports. Courtney Astolfi of Cleveland.com reported in February that two police reports were filed following the altercation. In one of the police reports, Abigail Ottinger told authorities that Hunt "shoved and pushed her," and the other report said Ottinger assaulted a woman who was with Hunt and his friends.
When the team asked Hunt about the incident, he reportedly denied having any role in the matter.
"I never left the (hotel) room," Hunt told the team, per Taylor. "I didn't do a thing."
No charges were ever filed.
Taylor added that Hunt apologized to the Chiefs on Friday and asked them to reconsider—but the organization stood by its decision. The team reportedly believes he will be given a six-game suspension for violating the league's personal-conduct policy.
Hunt will be interviewed live by Lisa Salters on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.