The NFL does not plan to change its investigative procedures, despite questions that arose about the Kareem Hunt probe, and will not start paying for videos or other information.
"I think that is not likely at all, for a number of reasons," NFL special counsel for conduct Todd Jones told reporters Wednesday at the owners meetings in Dallas. "Not the least of which is you all have a journalistic privilege, you all have First Amendment protections. You all can get information from sources and wrap it up in sort of like 'sources.' We don't have that luxury."
Hunt was released by the Kansas City Chiefs last month after video of him shoving and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel in February was posted on the TMZ website. No charges were filed following the incident, and the NFL imposed no discipline on the star running back after an initial investigation.
The NFL viewed police documents and spoke with local investigators but had not seen the video until it was posted on TMZ on Nov. 30. The league's investigators requested the video from the hotel but were told they would need a subpoena to see it.
"There is information out there in this surveillance society that we can't get when we need it, and when we get it, we act on it," Jones said.
"To become mercenary and pay for videos opens up a Pandora's box of all kinds of opportunities and things that may come to us, from not just surveillance video in public places or surveillance video in residences. You're talking about the world of social media and everybody on a smartphone, as TMZ's in the business of doing, is buying people's smartphone snippets for a fee, and the NFL's not going there."
Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated that, saying "First off, we don't pay for video evidence. From our standpoint, we think that is not appropriate for a league organization to do that. We contacted not only the housing development in this case immediately, we also contacted the police department. So we have taken material that we have access to.
"We look to do that, but we are not going to do that by corrupting people. Or trying to find a way to bribe them in giving us video. That's not what we do."
The league instituted changes to its policies in 2014, after TMZ posted video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée in a hotel elevator in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The league was harshly criticized for being too lenient on Rice. The changes gave the league the power to conduct its own investigations of players accused of criminal misconduct.
Hunt was placed on the commissioner's exempt list on Nov. 30, but the league has not yet handed down any discipline. The current investigation is ongoing, Jones said.