NFL Will Not Suspend Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill Following Investigation
Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill "will not be suspended following the NFL's four-month investigation of child abuse reports" involving Hill and his former fiancee, according to Pryor & Bauer of the K.C. STAR. Hill now is "expected to be at training camp with the Chiefs when team veterans report" on July 26. Hill had been "suspended from the Chiefs since April 25, the day after Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe declined to file charges" in the child abuse case relating to Hill's 3-year-old son. Sources said that NFL investigators met with Hill late last month, and that interview, which took place in K.C. and "lasted eight hours, was conducted by NFL Special Counsel for Investigations Lisa Friel." The league in a statement said that if "more information became available through 'law enforcement, the pending court proceeding or other sources' it would consider it and take all appropriate steps at that time" (K.C. STAR, 7/19). ESPN.com's Adam Teicher notes earlier this month, KCSP-AM "aired the fill audio of an argument between Hill" and his fiancee, Crystal Espinal, in which Hill "denied committing assault and battery against Espinal -- a charge he pleaded guilty to" in August '15. ESPN's Dan Graziano cited a source as saying that NFL investigators had "heard the full recording and were factoring it into their discussions on potential discipline for Hill" (ESPN.com, 7/19).
CAN'T PINPOINT CHARGES: NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports the NFL, like law enforcement, "felt that they were unable to determine who caused the injuries to Tyreek Hill's son." That is why officials are "not acting to suspend or fine Tyreek Hill in this incident." The audio clip of Hill threatening Espinal has led some to point out "abuse doesn't have to be physical (and) that could have been in and of itself a form of abuse and something that the NFL could have acted on." The league is "coming to understand these arguments are going to happen and some things are going to be said, but unless it's an explicit form of abuse, they're not going to act" ("Good Morning Football," NFL Network, 7/19).
TWITTER REAX: NFL Network's Jim Trotter: "If you were confused by how the NFL’s personal conduct policy was applied before, you’ll be even more confused by how it was not applied today." The MMQB's Andrew Brandt: "Criticism of Personal Conduct Policy discipline by the NFL is not due to it being too harsh or too soft. It is because it is too arbitrary." CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora: "Lot of people around the league shocked by the Tyreek Hill decision." ESPN's Mina Kimes: "Not surprised the league didn’t suspend Tyreek Hill for assault, given the lack of conclusive evidence. I am surprised he wasn’t punished for his threatening comments towards the mother." The Athletic's Ross Tucker: "At a minimum I'd like a public explanation from Tyreek Hill as to how his son broke his arm. I don't think that's asking too much." Yahoo Sports' Shalise Manza Young: "No explanation - still - for who or how that baby's arm was broken, but, hey, he's good for fantasy points, so who cares?" (TWITTER.com, 7/19).
IF IT BLEEDS, IT LEADS: ESPN's Max Kellerman said the "lesson" in this situation is to "wait until the facts come out." Kellerman: "That is why there is due process." He said, "It's important to keep in mind that the news business is really entertainment. It has become a distraction, and to a degree there's always that element that what we're doing -- especially so-called legitimate or mainstream news networks -- is they are selling cars and beer just like everyone else. So the expression in local news is, 'If it bleeds, it leads.' The more salacious, the more cartoonish the information, the more it cuts through the clutter ... and can garner a rating" ("First Take," ESPN, 7/19).