Kareem Hunt's immediate release from the Kansas City Chiefs is the team's way of sending a STRONG message to all players ... according to ESPN's Cari Champion.
Cari was at the Ebony Power 100 event in Bev Hills Friday night, very shortly after the Chiefs reacted to the video TMZ Sports published ... showing Hunt shove, kick and throw a woman to the ground during a February incident in Cleveland.
She says the video forced the team's hand and they were "sending a message ... they're saying what's important to them and what they stand for."
The NFL has Hunt on its "exempt list" currently -- meaning he can't practice or play in a game right now, but he has not been banned or suspended. Point is ... he could land on another team eventually.
Cari believes everyone, even Hunt, deserves a second chance -- however, she said he needs to "start looking at the man in the mirror. You gotta do a Michael Jackson."
As for the Chiefs swift reaction ... she thinks they knew something was coming down the pike.