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Saturday Sports: NFL Suspends Kareem Hunt


We're going to go into sports now. Howard Bryant is standing by. The Kansas City Chiefs have released their running back, Kareem Hunt. And the Toronto Raptors are on a hot streak. How long has it been if we heard that, if ever? Howard Bryant of espn.com and ESPN The Magazine joins us. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT, BYLINE: Good morning, Scott.

SIMON: Kansas City released Kareem Hunt after a video that shows him knocking down a woman and kicking her was made public. NFL...

BRYANT: In February.

SIMON: Yeah. Nothing was done over this time. But the NFL suspended him now that the video is made public. What do you know about this?

BRYANT: Well, I think that the first thing is you look at this - and I don't know anyone who's watched the video who's not appalled by it. It's incredibly disturbing. And there's no sound to it. But you can watch it. And then, of course, TMZ also obtained the interview with the young woman talking with police and then also with Kareem Hunt and some of his friends who were part of the altercation. And you watch this, and it's just very disturbing in so many different ways. I think one of the things that bothers me most about it is, having covered sports for all these years, you have to - it's very unspoken in the business. And I think you have to reconcile this relationship between these young men with all of this fame and all of this wealth and entitlement and the women who are in these different places and the relationships between those two, the expectations. And when those expectations aren't met, whatever they are, things become - they can become violent. And you're looking at this. And when I watched that video, I was, like, you can just count - anyone who's been in the business knows that, at some point, this celebrity culture has to change. And this - the relationship between these young men and the women and what happens out there is just - you could just see it happening so many times.

You know, obviously, when you're watching the video, you can't go back and think - and not think about the Ray Rice video a few years ago.

SIMON: Yeah.

BRYANT: And it brings you to the NFL and makes you think about the - there's the player responsibility side of it. But then there's also the league side of it. The NFL didn't want to know what was taking place here. They had this information. They trusted the player. And the player told them something that they believed not to be true. They have a security team. They have enormous resources. Yet they weren't able to obtain this video but TMZ was? I don't think that the NFL really does take any of this seriously. They are as untouchable - or they act as untouchable as the players believe they are. And then things like this happen.

SIMON: And, at the same time, the Washington football team, whose name I will not utter, has claimed the rights to Rueben Foster just days after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers following an arrest for domestic violence.

BRYANT: Three of them actually, Scott, and I think that's the other point. So you have these two bookends, and it speaks to a pattern of behavior for the league. The - Washington - not only did they claim Rueben Foster but, on top of that, the people who made the decision - Bruce Allen hasn't even really been public on it. They stuck Doug Williams out there, the VP of personnel, to pretty much take the fall for this ridiculous signing. And once again, you think about what message this sends. And when it sends this message, it goes back to the very same thing. They don't care. They're a $12 billion, $13 billion industry. They have no interest in any of this because there's no sanction. When the business is affected, then maybe they'll care. But you cannot look at the NFL to be a moral compass on this.

SIMON: I do want to note Toronto Raptors defeated Golden State Warriors this week by 51 - despite 51 points by Kevin Durant. We've got a few seconds left. Are the Raptors going to last?

BRYANT: Yeah. They're going to last because the NBA is a best-player-wins league, and Kawhi Leonard is the best player in the Eastern Conference. And when you look at that team, everyone's talking about the Boston Celtics and the others, but Kawhi Leonard is a legit player. And what you saw the other night may very well be an NBA finals preview.

SIMON: Howard Bryant of espn.com and ESPN The Magazine, thanks so much for being with us.

BRYANT: Thanks, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.