When video of Kareem Hunt’s hallway assault on a woman emerged last Friday, the overwhelming surface response was outrage and disappointment.
But after expressing that, a quick pivot followed — at least for me — in which my attention flew to the NFL and its lack of intensity in pursuing the evidence TMZ uncovered.
And that was what all of my Twitter tubthumping revolved around.
How the situation came to pass, the failure of Hunt and his friends to call hotel security, the role of the police and the lack of charges filed, the role of the woman involved in continuing to go back at Hunt, the role alcohol played, the implications Hunt’s release would have on the AFC. . . I wasn’t plumbing the depths of any of those.
I turned it into a cudgel to pound — again — at the seediness of the NFL’s disciplinary arm and its selectiveness in investigating possible infractions.
It’s all a matter of personal perspective. A woman who’d experienced anything like the shoving and kicking that Hunt perpetrated probably wouldn’t be immediately crying out about the hypocrisy of spending millions to prosecute Deflategate while failing to get this tape from the hotel.
She would be primarily concerned and vocal on behalf of the victim.
And if you’re an NFL player, your attention might go to Hunt.
On Quick Slants Monday night, Devin and Jason McCourty were asked about the Hunt incident and their reaction to it.
“Sometimes we lose focus and our first reaction is, ‘Will he be suspended? Will they release him?’ But at the core of it, there’s an incident,” said Jason McCourty. “There are people involved in this incident. There’s a young lady who got assaulted in this incident. There’s a man who is obviously struggling to deal with anger or whatever the situation may be. For me, I look at it and say, ‘I hope this situation is not only resolved from a professional standpoint but from a personal standpoint for him and the young lady involved.’ “
The McCourtys played with and are close to Ray Rice, the former Ravens running back whose infamous 2014 assault on his fiancée Janay caused shockwaves not just across the NFL but throughout the country.
It brought a reckoning for the league in how it investigated incidents and doled out discipline (not that it seems to have had an indelible impact).
But perhaps most importantly, it allowed Rice — who never again played in the NFL — to become an advocate and use the platform that remains to speak on his experience.
“Ray Rice spoke about fixing himself,” said Devin McCourty. “Not worrying about football, being on a team and in some ways not even worrying about his family until he could fix what was going on with him. Then, he could then move forward.”
The moving forward, said Jason, isn’t just saying that you’re sorry in the aftermath of the incident going public.
“There has to be remorse and resolution in order to be accepted back,” he said.
But there should be a path for a return.
“Anyone who makes a mistake, you have a chance to — if not correct it — learn from it and make a negative into a positive,” said Devin. “As people in society, we can’t just jump to judging someone . . . we need to be able to (ask an individual to work on themselves) and then ask, ‘Can we open our arms and allow you to be rehabilitated and move on?’ If we don’t allow you to do that, we’re not helping society. That’s what I hope for. Whatever he has to go through, I hope someday he is back and is able to use a platform.”
The messaging on what not to do from people like Rice, from NFL teams and from the league is there.
“We’re told that. Time after time,” said Jason. “But it’s easy to sit there in a team auditorium or a hotel conference room and listen to a message while you’re sitting there with all your peers and it’s on a PowerPoint.
“The hard part is when you are in that situation and you’re out at night and something’s transpired and now you’re in the middle of it,” he added. “The ability to take yourself out of this situation, separate yourself and back up and say, ‘Let me get out of here or get the police involved to correct the situation.’ It’s easy to look in hindsight and realize something is a bad decision but it’s a lot harder when you’re in the thick of it.”
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