Kareem Hunt, the star running back that the Kansas City Chiefs released Friday after video surfaced of him assaulting a woman, is now on his way out of Madden NFL 19, publisher Electronic Arts confirmed to Polygon on Tuesday.
“We are in the process of removing Kareem Hunt from the Madden NFL 19 roster, Madden Overdrive and Madden Ultimate Team,” an EA representative said in a statement. (Madden NFL Overdrive is EA’s football game for mobile devices.)
The news was first reported by TMZ.
This move applies to the game’s default roster, which is typically updated weekly during the NFL regular season and playoffs. Anybody who wants to play Madden 19 online must have the latest roster update. However, EA is not removing Hunt from the game entirely at this time: Players who decline to download future roster updates without Hunt, or have already started an offline Franchise playthrough, will still see Hunt in the game.
EA is using a slightly different solution for Madden Ultimate Team, the mode in which players put together teams of virtual trading cards. In Ultimate Team, Hunt will be replaced with a “generic player with identical stats,” according to EA’s statement. The spokesperson confirmed that EA is handling Hunt similarly to the way it dealt with former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice in 2014, after Rice was released and suspended indefinitely following a domestic violence incident.
Hunt, 23, is in his second NFL season. In February, a woman accused him of having “shoved and pushed” her at a hotel in Cleveland. Local police and the NFL opened investigations into the incident, but police did not make any arrests or file charges. The league and the Chiefs took action only on Friday, after TMZ published surveillance footage from the hotel of the altercation. In the footage, Hunt can be seen shoving the woman in question, and then kicking her after she was later knocked to the ground.
Shortly after the video surfaced, the NFL placed Hunt on the commissioner’s exempt list, at which point the Chiefs released him. Any players on that list are effectively on paid leave from the league — they continue to receive most of their salary, and can be signed by another team, but cannot partake in practices or attend games.
Hunt has not yet been officially suspended; he will stay on the commissioner’s exempt list until the NFL completes its investigation and hands down a punishment. ESPN reports that the league is now considering three separate violent off-field incidents involving Hunt, including the Cleveland altercation, as it determines how long it will suspend Hunt for.