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The NFL Needs To Get At The Root Of Its Domestic Violence Problem

The NFL has a domestic violence problem that may stem from its CTE situation.

 

Kareem Hunt has been in the news for all of the wrong reasons, but NFL fans likely expected something like this to occur at sometime during the season.

By “something like this” I mean, a situation in which an individual who was otherwise considered a model NFL citizen is accused of committing a heinous crime the baffles everyone.

Back in February, Kareem Hunt was recorded pushing and kicking a woman that he alleges called him the n-word. The video, which was released last week thanks to TMZ, is understandably difficult to watch.

And, if you find yourself unmoved by a man kicking and pushing a woman, no matter her alleged crime, then you’re definitely part of the reason why the National Football League has sort of deemed domestic violence a backburner issue over the years.


Hunt, who has been contrite and apologetic in the wake of these revelations, is only the latest to go from a darling of the gridiron to a social pariah. The only difference between him and Ray Rice is that Hunt is still in his prime and Rice was over 30. Had Rice been younger, it’s very likely he would have remained in the National Football League.


Whether we want to admit it or not, teams are all about winning. There are several teams currently interested in signing the explosive running back, who has been released by the Chiefs  for lying about what actually went down back in February, but he’ll be back on the gridiron relatively soon.

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An obviously damning part about this for the NFL is that it has since been revealed that they didn’t even interview Hunt. They did request to speak with the woman and her friend, but ESPN says the league got no response, citing an unidentified source.

Sources also say that the league spoke to “as many witnesses who were there as possible and that they said Hunt was not involved in the incident.” The TMZ video released Friday completely contradicted the “eyewitnesses” who spoke in favor of Hunt.


It’s easy to imagine a plethora of other NFL players who got off because of false testimony from onlookers, or because the victim chose to change her story to protect her attacker.

Hell, one could argue this scenario took place with Reuben Foster earlier this year when his accuser suddenly changed her story to say she made the whole thing up. Now, months later, Foster is revealed to still be putting his hands on her.


What’s going on in the minds of these young men? Though it’s difficult to tell, I think it has a great deal to do with the effects high-impact collisions are having on the brains of players.

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I don’t believe they are bad men, or that they’ve been conditioned for violence by the violent sport they play. However, established science posits that brain injury due to concussive force can cause individuals to lash out emotionally and violently.

Yet, whenever we hear of something like this, the onus is placed upon the individual. And because we’re years away from pragmatic technology that could diagnose CTE in living people, we won’t know the truth about why so many NFL players get caught up in domestic violence situations.

But I’ll bet there’s more to it than the players being mean individuals who like to beat women. I’d bet it’s way more complicated than that.

Ricardo A Hazell has served as Senior Contributor with The Shadow League since coming to the company in 2013. His byline has appeared in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the South China Sea Post, the Root and many other publications. At TSL he is charged with exploring re black cultural angles of where they intersect with the mainstream.