Ever since it was announced Monday that the Cleveland Browns signed former Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt to a one-year contract, some anger around town has resurfaced about the way former Ravens running back Ray Rice was treated for his domestic violence case nearly five years ago.
Baltimore fans want to know why Hunt has already been given a possible second chance for an incident that is only several months old and Rice was never given another opportunity to play in the NFL.
I think the answer is pretty simple. During the investigation of Rice, members of his support team, as well as Rice himself, challenged the integrity of Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and the competence of his organization in a published report.
As soon as I saw that report, I knew Rice would never play in the NFL again. In it, he made a lot of false claims about the team, including that Bisciotti and team president Dick Cass lobbied the judicial system in New Jersey as well as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to go easy on him.
Bisciotti, and Cass to some degree, adamantly denied a number of the claims in the report.
As far as public relations, the Ravens could have handled the situation better, but I thought all the top officials within the organization truly liked Rice and only wanted to help him.
He basically had the wrong people telling him what to do, and it cost him a second opportunity in the NFL.
You can’t snitch on an owner. Worse yet, you can’t lie on him. There are only 32 of them, and they have developed one of the greatest good-old-boy networks in the world. There was no way another owner was going to take a chance on Rice, especially after he betrayed an owner who had supported him.
I have written that Rice deserved another opportunity as long as he got the proper counseling. I believe Hunt deserves a second chance as well, especially at the age of 23.
We all must endure the consequences of our decisions, good or bad. Rice’s case drew so much public outrage because of the video. It was one of the few times you got to see what happened instead of hearing about it.
Now, when you hear about prominent athletes involved in domestic violence, the Rice video is usually shown. One of the consequences of the video was that Rice would never be allowed to play in the NFL again.
There is a video of Hunt, as well, and it’s just as vicious as the one involving Rice, but Hunt has made some of the right moves already. The NFL is still investigating his physical altercation with a woman last February in a Cleveland hotel, and two other alleged incidents that happened after he was released by the Chiefs. But Hunt reportedly has sought treatment and counseling.
The Browns conducted their own investigation and apparently feel comfortable signing Hunt, even though the league still hasn’t made a decision on any suspensions.
But the best decision Hunt made, unlike Rice, was that he never challenged the integrity or competence of the Chiefs organization, especially the owner.