The NFL Won’t Suspend Tyreek Hill

I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t throw a welcome back party and get excited about today’s news.

Jim Rome
July 19, 2019 - 10:18 am
Tyreek Hill

USA Today

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In April, on the Thursday of the NFL draft, the Kansas City Chiefs suspended Tyreek Hill after a local TV station aired a recording of a conversation allegedly between Hill and his fiancée about alleged abuse of their three-year old.

This conversation appeared to be connected to a pair of visits by the police to Hill’s home in March. Police took two reports on those visits, one for battery and one for child abuse and neglect.

The Kansas City Star reported on March 15th that an incident at Hill’s home had left the three year old child with a broken arm.

The airing of the recording also came one day after Johnson County District Attorney Stephen M. Howe said charges would not be filed against Hill or his fiancée.

Not because they didn’t believe that a crime had been committed, but because they could not clearly establish who committed it.

"This office has reviewed all the evidence and has declined to file charges against Tyreek Hill and Crystal Espinal. We are deeply troubled by the situation. We believe a crime has occurred; however, the evidence in this case doesn't establish who committed a crime."

Since then, the league has been investigating the Hill situation and today they announced the results of that investigation with a statement that reads in part:

In conducting our investigation, we have taken great care to ensure that we do not interfere with the county's proceedings or compromise the privacy or welfare of the child in any way. The information developed in the court proceeding is confidential and has not been shared with us, and the court has sealed all law enforcement records. Local law enforcement authorities have publicly advised that the available evidence does not permit them to determine who caused the child's injuries.

Similarly, based on the evidence presently available, the NFL cannot conclude that Mr. Hill violated the Personal Conduct Policy. Accordingly, he may attend Kansas City's training camp and participate in all club activities. He has been and will continue to be subject to conditions set forth by the District Court, Commissioner Goodell, and the Chiefs, which include clinical evaluation and therapeutic intervention.

If further information becomes available through law enforcement, the pending court proceeding, or other sources, we will promptly consider it and take all appropriate steps at that time.

No suspension. No fine.

And here is a statement from the team: We have been informed of the decision by the National Football League that, based on the available evidence, the league has not found that Tyreek Hill violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. Based on the information provided to us by the league, we have decided it is appropriate for Tyreek to return to the team at the start of training camp. The club fully supports the conditions for return laid out by the league and will continue to monitor any new developments in the case. We are glad to welcome Tyreek back to the team and look forward to the start of training camp next week.

Cool. Great. Sounds like everything is awesome then. Nothing to see here. Keep moving.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: There is a reason why I don’t talk about Tyreek Hill the player on the show very much and why I have been extremely reluctant to hype him as a football player.

And that reason is that before Hill was drafted, he pled guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation. According to the police report, he punched his fiancée in the face, choked her, and punched her in the stomach.

His fiancée was eight weeks pregnant with their son at the time.

As a reminder, the audio that was aired that led to the suspension, included this exchange:

Espinal, referring to their son: "He's terrified of you."

Hill: "You need to be terrified of me too — dumb bitch."

That sure sounds like a threat and one that was directed at a woman he has previously admitted to assaulting. And something the league did not address in their statement.

Again, maybe that audio was phony. Maybe something was messed with there. Maybe somebody wants to argue that there’s a context where that exchange seems okay, but that reported excerpt does not sound good.

According to Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports, “the NFL’s judgment supports the notion that the evidence Hill and his attorneys provided league investigators during an eight-hour meeting on June 26 was significant, as sources told Yahoo Sports that Hill included text messages supporting the assertions he made in his own defense in a four-page letter he sent the NFL in early May regarding the child abuse case.”

But let’s make something clear in this situation: there are absolute no winners here.

And if you are a KC fan and you’re fired up to get Hill back and have him at training camp next week, and what this means for Kansas City’s offense, maybe take a good long look at yourself and your priorities.

I don’t know what did or did not happen in the March incident that left a three-year-old with a broken arm. The authorities seem to believe a crime was committed, but they are not sure who committed it. Maybe it wasn’t Hill. Maybe he’s not a child abuser.

But he did plead guilty to assaulting his fiancée a few years back. And this is a team that had Kareem Hunt last year and drafted Hill after he pled guilty to assault. That is not exactly the greatest track record. So I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t throw a welcome back party and get excited about today’s news.