Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt has asked for forgiveness after the release of a video that shows him physically assaulting a woman in February.
The 2017 NFL rushing leader was released Friday by the Chiefs after a surveillance video posted by TMZ showed him kicking and shoving a woman during a late-night incident outside his Cleveland apartment.
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"I'm asking for forgiveness and I definitely believe I deserve forgiveness," Hunt told ESPN. "Everything is really happening fast right now, and I just want everybody to forgive me.
"I know it's going to be hard. I made a bad choice and I'm not going to let this bring me down."
Hunt has been part of an ongoing investigation by the NFL since it became aware of the situation in February, the league confirmed in a statement.
Hunt admitted to lying to the Chiefs about the incident, but said he had not been questioned about it by the league.
"The Chiefs are right; I didn't tell them everything," he said on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" in an interview that he requested. "I don't blame them for anything. My actions caused this.
"I really wish that I could just apologize to them, and let them know there (are) no hard feelings between me and the Chiefs, and I love the program, love the people there, and I just want to take this time and better myself and not let anything like this happen ever again."
The NFL said Tuesday that it requested surveillance video of the incident in February.
"We had multiple verbal conversations with Cleveland police officers," a league spokesman said. "In addition, NFL representatives also made requests for surveillance video to the hotel property."
Cleveland Police Officer Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia told CNN the league didn't make a formal request for police records or the surveillance video until Friday, the same day TMZ published the surveillance video.
The league placed Hunt on the NFL Commissioner Exemption List on Friday.
Hunt can be signed by another team, but won't be allowed to play until the conclusion of the investigation, which "will include a review of the new information that was made public on Friday ... as well as further conversations with all parties involved in the incident," the league said.
'We don't do those things'
The second-year player out of the University of Toledo is third in NFL touchdowns with 14 and eighth in rushing yards, despite missing the Chiefs' 40-33 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid, whose 10-2 team has fielded one of the NFL's most explosive offenses this season, addressed the decision to release Hunt after Sunday's win.
"Those kinds of things are never easy,'' Reid said, adding that he wanted to avoid "a distraction" on the team.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was drafted alongside Hunt by the Chiefs in 2017, said the two "had a close relationship."
"I saw the stuff that happened," he added. "We don't do those things. At the same time I'm focused on our organization, the Chiefs. I know we have to keep moving forward and going out there to win football games if we want to have success this season."
Hunt's public apology and his openness to undergo counseling "if needed" may offer hope for a future in the NFL given the status of Reuben Foster, who was released by the San Francisco 49ers last month after an arrest for domestic violence.
Days later, the linebacker was claimed by the Washington Redskins, although he, too, will not be activated until a league investigation is concluded.
No charges have been filed against Hunt, but he admits he acted inappropriately that night.
"Honestly, I never met the girl before besides that one time," he recalled. "It was just a disagreement, and I honestly wanted her just to leave. It's no excuse for me to act that way or to even put myself in that position.
"It was just a long night, and to be exact it don't really matter what happened," he said. "I was in the wrong, I could've ... (found) a way to de-escalate the whole situation.
"(There were) definitely some things that were said and did that I did not like, and that's not an excuse. ... That person in that video did not deserve that."
Despite being under investigation by the NFL for most of the year, Hunt said he only realized the severity of what happened after seeing the surveillance footage.
"When everybody else saw the video, that's when I saw the video, that's when the Chiefs saw the video," he said. "To see that, it's really tough, because I wish I would have handled it differently."
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