The NFL did not interview running back Kareem Hunt nor the woman he allegedly assaulted when it investigated an offseason incident at a hotel in Cleveland, according to an ESPN report.
FILE PHOTO: Nov 11, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) runs the ball during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The Kansas City Chiefs released Hunt shortly after the league announced he had been placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list following the release of surveillance video of the incident.
Multiple outlets reported that the Chiefs sent Hunt home from the facility on Friday after learning the video had been released. Additional reports indicate the NFL and Chiefs have been aware of the existence of the video, but it is not known whether the league or team viewed the footage. However, the league released a statement Friday evening which ir called the video, “new information.”
According to the ESPN report, the league never sought an interview with Hunt after multiple witnesses said he was not involved in the February incident. The league reportedly did reach out to the woman on multiple occasions, but was rebuffed.
The incident occurred at The Metropolitan at 3:22 a.m. on Feb. 10, and involved then-19-year-old Abigail Ottinger from Berea, Ohio.
In the video, originally posted on TMZ, Hunt appears to come around a corner outside his rented room to confront Ottinger with a hard shove. The woman hits him in the face and Hunt becomes enraged.
Hunt’s entourage comes to help and attempts to hold him back. At one point, Hunt sends one of his friends and the woman flying into a wall.
Ottinger was on the ground appearing dazed and started to get up. Hunt saw her and delivered a kick to knock her back on the ground.
According to TMZ, law enforcement obtained the video from the hotel. Prosecutors reviewed the footage and decided not to file charges.
Ottinger, who reportedly attends Kent State, told police that the incident started because she refused to have sex with a member of Hunt’s entourage.
Members of the entourage told police Ottinger called Hunt the N-word and physically hit a female member of the entourage.
Hunt’s placement on the exempt list is essentially an indefinite suspension, as he is not allowed to practice or play for any team until further notice. If he is claimed on waivers, he would be allowed to attend meetings at his new team’s facility. Pending the NFL’s investigation, Hunt could be facing a suspension of at least six games.
Hunt, 23, is from the Cleveland suburb of Willoughby and spends a significant part of his offseason in the area. He played college football at Toledo.
Hunt rushed for 1,327 yards as a rookie with the Chiefs last season. He has 824 yards through 11 games this season.
—Field Level Media