In its investigation into the February assault that cost Kareem Hunt his job, the NFL did not interview the running back or the woman he shoved and kicked, league sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen.
The NFL never requested an interview with Hunt after the incident that occurred outside his Cleveland residence, sources said. The NFL on multiple occasions reached out to the woman and a friend who was with her that night, but they did not respond, officials said.
The league said it spoke to as many witnesses who were there as possible and that they said Hunt was not involved, which the video that TMZ released Friday clearly contradicts.
The NFL believes it did everything possible from a legal standpoint. The league could not subpoena the hotel or police for the video.
The league, however, did have the police report, and Hunt spoke to the Chiefs about the incident. Yet after the league reviewed the police report and spoke to the Chiefs following their discussions with Hunt, no action was taken, leading up to the video that was released Friday.
And so the NFL's investigation of Hunt did not include any interviews with Hunt or the woman who was pushed, shoved and kicked.
The Chiefs announced they were cutting Hunt on Friday, after the video published by TMZ showed the February assault. In the video, Hunt and the woman trade words in a hallway and are separated by several people on multiple occasions, the video shows. Hunt pushes the woman, who responds by hitting him in the face. Two men escort Hunt down a hallway before he charges out, colliding with a man who then knocks the woman over. Hunt also kicks the woman in the leg.
The Chiefs said Hunt was not truthful in his discussions with the team about what happened, leading to the decision to cut him.
The NFL's inability to acquire the video brings back memories of former FBI director Robert Mueller's independent report about the league's investigation of Ray Rice punching of his then-fiancée after TMZ released video of that assault.
While Mueller exonerated the NFL at some levels, he wrote in his report that the league should have done more.
"We concluded there was substantial information about the incident -- even without the in-elevator video -- indicating the need for a more thorough investigation," Mueller wrote. "The NFL should have done more with the information it had, and should have taken additional steps to obtain all available information about the February 15 incident."