So that's the Kareem Hunt story, all two-and-a-half days of it. A shameful assault from 10 months ago that nobody seemed to think much of becomes a massive issue as soon as someone actually sees an act of violence against women -– as though it doesn't count unless there's video.
It also cements TMZ as the National Football League's true and most effective investigative arm. I eagerly await the news that the league has offered TMZ boss Harvey Levin a vice presidency and a little tin badge shaped like The Shield.
Hunt closed out his part of the story in a Sunday interview with ESPN interview by vaguely admitting not only that he hit and kicked a woman last February but that he lied to the Kansas City Chiefs about his role. This allows the Chiefs to maintain their stance that they fired Hunt because he lied to them, which as we all know is far more serious than shoving or kicking a woman.
Hunt also said repeatedly that "this isn't me" because he was raised well. Well, it is him because he did it, no matter how well he might have been raised.
In short, Hunt was justifiably fired from his job and might face criminal charges, but he still got ESPN to let him throw himself on the mercy of whatever general manager really believes he can fill Team X's running back hole. His interview with Lisa Salters basically was his version of a reverse job fair.
(In fact, through dint of preparation, professionalism and understanding the gravity of the job handed her, Salters might have been the only one to come off well here, but that is to be expected).
Everyone else -- much further from the minimum standard. The NFL looks more aggressively reluctant to tackle these cases than ever before, essentially telling the Chiefs not to seek out the hotel surveillance video and then doing nothing until the TMZ report. And the Chiefs look like they are playing hardball with Hunt only after the NFL reacts to the TMZ report.
Hell, if that's how the league intends to do its investigations - waiting until someone gets evidence they say they can't get and then demanding swift action -– maybe a vice presidency is too small a title for Levin.
That remains the largest takeaway here. Not that beating women is bad, which the league and its teams take seriously only when forced to do so. Not that lying to/letting down the boss is bad, even though that seems to be the reason both Hunt and former 49er Reuben Foster lost their jobs this week.
Rather, the real transgression Hunt committed was embarrassing the company by doing his sordid business on video. If there was no visual evidence, Hunt would be preparing to play the Oakland Raiders, which essentially is preparing to gain 180 yards from scrimmage and score three touchdowns in a 48-10 victory.
It's almost as if the lesson here is "Don't assault women," or even "don't commit illegal acts" as much as it is "Don't make me have to get off the couch and get involved here."
The NFL (and by that we mean Commissioner Roger Goodell and those who work on the discipline side of the company) hates these stories because it has never handled them well. It always ends up with the league proving how low its idea of minimalist justice is, and how shallow its relationship to its customer base truly is.
Indeed, the Hunt story shows mostly that NFL investigations essentially are the search to control the optics until the optics get too big. Hunt deserved what he got - unemployment and shame - but it should have happened not before Week 13 of the season but before Week Zero, which still would have been six months after the fact rather than 10.
The only problem was, TMZ didn't have the video before Week 13, and TMZ is becoming the league's true cop on the beat. And in keeping with the way the league surely prefers its work-for-hire, the league doesn't pay for TMZ's services. They just magically appear.
But if Harvey Levin is good with that ... well, let's just say this is your civics lesson from an uncivil world for the day. Justice starts only when the camera is powered down.