The Ray Rice case raises real questions about whether the Ravens did enough to obtain video of the punch that knocked out Rice’s then-fiancee. The Kareem Hunt case apparently won’t raise similar questions.
Nate Taylor of TheAthletic.com reports, citing multiple unnamed sources, that the Chiefs knew that video of the February incident existed, but that the NFL told the Chiefs to stop trying to get the video, once the NFL launched its own investigation.
On the surface, it makes sense. The league, not the team, has exclusive jurisdiction over off-field, offseason matters of personal conduct. But the fact that the NFL failed to get the video gives the issue a far more unfortunate vibe.
Let’s reconsider the league’s contentions regarding the efforts to get the video, as provided by a source with knowledge of the situation. The league contends that the hotel told the NFL that corporate policy permitted the hotel to surrender the video only to law enforcement. The NFL also contacted the Cleveland Police Department, which didn’t provide to the NFL any video.
It’s now known that the Cleveland Police Department didn’t provide the video because the Cleveland Police Department didn’t get the video, because the Cleveland Police Department only wants video when the underlying offense is a felony. So the real question is what, if anything, the league said to the Cleveland Police Department to impress upon it the fact that the hotel won’t give the video to anyone but law enforcement and that the NFL is trying to enforce its own internal laws, but that the NFL can’t without cooperation from law enforcement.
Here’s another question that the NFL needs to ponder for future cases. When caught in a predicament like this, with the entity in possession of a video unwilling to produce it to anyone but law enforcement and law enforcement unwilling to ask for it, what should the league do? One solution could be to opt for full transparency,. explaining in a non-accusatory fashion that no action can be taken against Hunt because no one will cooperate with the league’s efforts to get the video. The other solution, as suggested on Saturday, could be to adopt the same kind of relentlessness that characterizes the efforts of TMZ to get videos, even if it means paying for videos.
Whatever the outcome, it won’t be easy for the NFL to continue to make cursory efforts to get a video, abandon more aggressive strategies or approaches, and then simply say “well, we tried” whenever TMZ or some other media outlet succeeds.