CHICAGO – That Kareem Hunt is now a Cleveland Brown is yesterday’s news. But to fully understand the favor Cleveland did the Chicago Bears by signing him, it was important to let the story breathe for a day or two and give all the negative feedback the Browns are now getting a chance to develop.
We will never know how close the Bears were to signing Hunt.
The last time he spoke publicly on the matter, Bears general manager Ryan Pace was noncommittal, saying, “That's a good question.
“As we go into that, obviously there's a lot of things off the field that he's got to take care of. (coach) Matt (Nagy) knows Kareem. I don't know Kareem, but those things are all going to have to play out.”
Pace was pretty clear the Bears weren’t going to do what Cleveland did, jump into the deep end with no life preserver and long before anyone could discover what the currents are like and which way they’re moving.
Nagy appeared to be in lockstep with Pace, saying, “The only thing I cared about when I talked to [Hunt] was literally his personal life, how he's doing, and it was a good conversation. He sounded good, but that's it.
“I mean, the other stuff, that's not where it's at. There's more to it than the football. So we talked strictly on that.”
The news, however, from that Jan. 14 news conference that Nagy and Hunt had spoken with each other a week or so earlier seemed to convince Bears Nation that Nagy was hot on Hunt’s trail.
Keeping an eye on Hunt’s status and considering adding him to a Bears offense that clearly can use his particular set of talents made sense.
The Browns signing him before the completion of the investigation of his various misdeeds and well before he is even completely immersed in therapy and treatment programs in the hope that he never assaults another woman – or man – again was really dumb.
After his signing of Hunt, Browns general manager John Dorsey said in an official statement, “The Browns understand and respect the complexity of questions and issues in signing a player with Kareem’s history and do not condone his actions . . . [but we’re encouraged he] took full responsibility for his egregious actions and showed true remorse.”
The problem is not only did Hunt not take full responsibility or show any remorse when the Chiefs found out about his knocking down and then kicking a 19-year old woman, he lied to them about it, and that’s why the Chiefs chose to fire him rather than give him a second chance.
And by signing him well before Hunt has even had a chance to make amends and with no real idea whether he will, the Browns clearly do condone his actions.
Here’s what Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women, told NBC News about Cleveland signing Hunt.
She described the signing as sending a “message” that “money matters more than women.”
“Women don’t matter to the NFL, which is rather surprising because they’re a big part of the viewer audience,” she said.
It didn’t take long for Shawn Windsor, a columnist for the Detroit Free Press, to connect the dots to another issue, either.
“It’s hard to get past the message this signing sent: that violence against women is forgivable, while kneeling during the national anthem is not," he wrote.
“The NFL is giving Hunt another chance because they know they can sell it. That says plenty, obviously.
“They had a similar chance to release statements and craft platitudes regarding Kaepernick.
“They didn’t. And haven’t. And likely never will.”
Ask yourself this, which player is more deserving of a second chance, Hunt or Kaepernick?
What does it say about the Browns and the NFL that it was more important to give Hunt a second chance he’s done absolutely nothing yet to deserve than Kaepernick, who never should have been out of work in the first place?
If the Bears were in fact serious about signing Hunt, they need to send a thank you note to Cleveland right now to thank them for saving them from looking as bad as the Browns do right now.