The league could put its stamp on this, through education, counseling, changing attitudes and actions, using discipline and imposing consequences at its discretion. It could be the leader in the proper treatment of women that every other major industry, and society at large, is a catastrophic failure at being.It could. If it wanted to.It doesn’t. If the NFL really wanted to handle it, help its players, help their victims and help its own image, it wouldn’t govern by TMZ video. League officials wouldn’t be the kings of reaction, instead of proaction.MORE: What we know about assault allegations against Kareem HuntThe Kareem Hunt mess from nine months ago would have been resolved, or on its way to being resolved, for him, the Chiefs and the NFL, long before Friday night — long before they all scrambled to cover their rear ends after the video of Hunt shoving, manhandling and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel.But they all failed, the same way, almost to the letter, in how the league failed with Ray Rice in 2014, and with Josh Brown in 2016. Suddenly, everyone found their spines, only when evidence of those players’ deeds and words went public (in Brown’s case, not visual evidence, but police reports).Does anyone doubt, then, that everyone will have that same epiphany on Reuben Foster only if some visual proof surfaces about him? Washington played the “due diligence” game when it claimed him off waivers after his latest arrest. It’s completely fair to question whether the Chiefs played the same game in February, since now they’re claiming that Hunt’s failure was in lying to them, indicating that their investigation started and stopped with them asking him what happened and taking his word for it.Statement from the Kansas City Chiefs on Kareem Hunt➡️ https://t.co/MrjIX1Y7Ke pic.twitter.com/efSMqUDio1— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 1, 2018And if the NFL checked into it at all then, it isn’t clear how much. It pulled the trap door on him and dropped him into the “exempt list” safety net when the time came and it needed to avoid responsibility for anything that could or should have been done much earlier.(UPDATE: ESPN reported Sunday that the NFL never requested an interview with Hunt or his victim; in a live interview on “Sunday NFL Countdown,” Hunt confirmed that the league never asked to talk to him. Also, Pro Football Talk reported that the NFL tried but was unable to get the video either from the police or the hotel where the assault took place; and USA Today reported that the police themselves never viewed the video, either.)It all brings back a question the NFL should have answered years ago, when it masterfully mishandled cases with Rice, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy all at the same time. “Should the NFL even be in the domestic-violence discipline business?” many reasonable people have asked this week. The answer, though, lies in this fact: It can, if it wants to. It doesn’t want to.We know this because we see every day how the NFL exerts its pull in any area it wants, to get the results it wants.MORE: Foster mess restores Redskins as gold standard for unaccountabilityProbing every aspect of the lives of draft prospects every single year, before, during and after the combine, is just one example that applies to this. The NFL and the respective teams couldn’t lay their hands on video of Rice then or Hunt now, supposedly, but they know every detail of some player’s family life, school attendance record and locker-room scuffle at spring practice and can hold it over their heads at draft time.Because they want to.The league can be an enormous force for good. Five minutes don’t go by without hearing about the collaborations it’s doing with the Players’ Coalition on social-justice initiatives. That’s something the league showed zero interest in until two years ago. Now, millions of dollars move around, and everyone up to and including commissioner Roger Goodell has gotten engaged on criminal justice reform, police-community initiatives, education policy, everything.They want to.They also want to make absolutely sure that Colin Kaepernick never sets foot in an NFL locker room again, and make clear the precise reasons why (in the form of the league’s ill-fated “anthem policy” as much as the vague “football” reasons for signing the likes of Mark Sanchez and Tom Savage over him). Eric Reid made it back in, and in less than two months with the Panthers, he’s gotten questionable flags, fines and ejections on the field and numerous so-called random drug tests off it.No real gray area about that.AN ENDLESS FIGHT, A DEFINING CHOICEAthletes of different eras find voice against society’s injusticesThe league was also ready to take Tom Brady to the Supreme Court over its right to suspend him for deflating footballs, whether it could be proved or not. But clarity, one way or another, about players who abuse women (and children, since that surfaced again with Peterson’s tone-deaf Bleacher Report interview about his continuing to beat his son)? The NFL simply does not give any. They threw together a policy after the Rice debacle that included a six-game suspension, yet it struggles mightily with enforcing it until — you guessed it — public pressure and outrage force its hand.You want clarity? You get more of it when players flunk a marijuana test. Or when they’re punished for celebrating too much on the field. Like, oh, the Chiefs’ own Tyreek Hill, two weeks ago, when he flashed a peace sign on his way to a touchdown in the most-celebrated regular-season game in years, the 54-51 loss to the Rams.A flag and a fine for that peace sign. But for Hill’s well-documented domestic violence incident in college? Well, the league drafted, signed and benefits from him to this day. All must hope that there’s never a hotel-video moment coming for him.Hunt’s caught up with him, and with the team and league that was living just fine when it was away from the public eye. Believe it, none of them would have counted on Hunt’s honesty had he been undrafted free-agent practice fodder, instead of the reigning NFL rushing champion.The NFL is Godzilla, in the sports world and in American society and its economy. Pretending the league is just another employer is ludicrous and condescending. It knows the power it wields — because it wields it all the time, at any whim it pleases. Looks like it’s Unaccountability Week in the National Football League. Is there a special color the players wear for that?Everything this $13 billion sport has done since midweek has shown the world that it couldn’t care less about getting a grip on domestic violence in its ranks, but is more interested in looking like it’s getting a grip on it.