Bernstein: McCaskey Makes Hunt Pursuit Into More

George McCaskey maintains he's learned from his decisions of the past.

Dan Bernstein
January 24, 2019 - 3:25 pm
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(670 The Score) The most important aspect of Bears chairman George McCaskey's answers to questions about Kareem Hunt was what he didn't say, clearly keeping alive the possibility that the former NFL rushing leader could resurrect his career with his friend Matt Nagy in Chicago.

McCaskey spoke at length with the McNeil and Parkins Show on 670 The Score on Thursday afternoon and instead of choosing to end such speculation once and for all, he made sure to keep the door open by repeating general manager Ryan Pace's mantra of, "We're not there yet."

Meaning they could get there, the point at which he said he would watch the video of the most recent incident that resulted in Hunt's release from the Chiefs and placement on the commissioner's exempt list where he now awaits a likely suspension. Hunt to the Bears may happen still, despite McCaskey admitting some regret for his previous mishandling of their acquisition of defensive lineman Ray McDonald in March 2015 amid allegations of domestic violence. McDonald was released several months later after another incident.

"The biggest lesson I learned -- and I said it at the time -- is I didn't go with my gut," McCaskey said. "My gut told me no, and I went against that. It was a mistake, and it was my mistake."

And then McCaskey decided to discuss the larger picture of the issue of domestic violence and the responsibility he feels from his position leading an NFL franchise. 

"It's not just incidents of domestic violence that get caught on video," McCaskey said. "This is a vexing social issue that needs attention and not just from people in the NFL and not just from teams with owners who happen to be female. A lot of times it's a 'he said, she said' situation and family and friends and police and prosecutors need to sort through and find out which person is telling a more credible story. It's a very, very difficult situation and as a society, we've got to get on top of it."

He's absolutely right, and his comments echo those of Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein when talking about suspended shortstop Addison Russell. But what's interesting is that McCaskey is using the Hunt story to broaden his public position into something larger than demanded by the facts.

Hunt isn't accused of domestic violence, with his actions described and seen on tape as a response to a woman with whom he wasn't in any kind of relationship. It was a battery, a shocking and brutal reaction to a dispute regarding a party in his hotel room. In that way, it was similar to two other accusations against Hunt, both similarly alcohol-fueled bar fights.

This is in no way to judge what's worse between any kind of violent acts, only to note that they're different things with different pathologies that need to be handled in their own, specific ways.

It's good that the Bears understand that domestic violence needs the attention McCaskey described, and putting some real effort and research into such an approach would undoubtedly benefit them in future situations that may arise and help set a positive example. But it's also critical to realize that their pursuit of Hunt would need an awareness and action plan equally appropriate to his own behavioral problems.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​