Timeline: Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill will not be suspended by NFL
The majority of people in Kansas City agreed with the NFL’s decision to not discipline Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill after an investigation of child abuse reports involving Hill and his former fiancee Crystal Espinal.
Around the nation, a number of writers and talk show hosts shared their views of Hill and the NFL’s decision, and many thought a punishment should have been given. But some also cautioned about making assumptions. One said it was fine to root for Hill no matter what he does off the field.
Here is a sample of what national media members were saying.
Nancy Armour of USA Today wrote a column with a headline of “NFL gets it wrong again by not disciplining Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill.”
Here is part of what Armour wrote: “It’s been five years since Ray Rice and three years since Josh Brown, and the NFL remains as weak on domestic violence now as it was then. Think about that. For all the public condemnation, all the mea culpas and promises to change, all the window dressing, the NFL still can’t be bothered to actually protect the women and children in harm’s way and, equally important, ensure its players are getting the help they need.”
Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann wrote a story with a headline, “Making sense of the NFL’s controversial decision to not suspend Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill.”
This is an snippet: “(NFL commissioner Roger) Goodell didn’t ‘have to’ punish Hill. Goodell might have placed significance in the fact that Hill did not know he was being recorded when he made this incendiary remark (though that excuse doesn’t always work with pro sports leagues — see Donald Sterling and the NBA).
“Goodell might also have been concerned that by punishing a player for making a statement, Goodell would invite the NFLPA to challenge the suspension. After all, players to date have been suspended by the NFL for actions or alleged actions, not for what they say.”
CBS Sports’ Will Brinson wrote a story with the headline, “NFL shockingly decides not to suspend Chiefs star Tyreek Hill following investigation.”
Here is an excerpt: “From a football standpoint, getting Hill back for the entire season is a massive win for Kansas City. The Chiefs lost Kareem Hunt last year after they released the running back in the wake of video, emerging when TMZ uncovered it, showing Hunt assaulting a woman in a hotel hallway. A few months ago it felt as if Hill could suffer a similar fate as it relates to the Chiefs roster. Now he’s going to play the entire year barring new evidence popping up, and it means the Chiefs will be as close as possible to full speed offensively. Hill changes how teams game-plan against the Chiefs, and he’s a matchup nightmare. Patrick Mahomes’ odds of repeating as MVP only increase with this news.”
Fox Sports Radio host Jonas Knox said it’s fine for fans to cheer for Tyreek Hill even if they don’t like his off-the-field behavior.
Michael Lombardi of The Athletic tweeted that he was shocked by the news:
ESPN’s Damien Woody wondered why Hill’s past didn’t play a part in the NFL’s decision:
Woody joined Max Kellerman of ESPN’s “First Take” on Friday. Kellerman said of Hill: “Whether he did it or not is still in question, but there is a presumption of innocence in our country. And we have seen others victimized by this kind of structure, by these circumstances, but I think the lesson is ... it’s important to keep in mind wait until the facts come out, contextualize the information and then come to conclusions.”
Here is the segment:
Brian Giuffra of The Big Lead wrote a story headlined, “Audio of Tyreek Hill threatening his wife was enough to warrant suspension.”
This is a snippet of what he wrote: “While most of us understand finding moral fulfillment from the NFL’s discipline policy is a fools task, we should expect some consistency from the largest sports league in the U.S. when it comes to suspensions. While there’s no evidence of what happened with Hill and his child, there is evidence of him threatening a woman. As a repeat offender in this field, that alone is worth four games.”
Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk wrote a story with the headline “NFL gradually has softened its hard-line approach to player discipline.”
Here is part of what Florio wrote: “Two years ago, Hill wouldn’t have been so fortunate. Now, as the league tries to build on momentum from 2018 TV numbers fueled by an offensive explosion about which the NFL privately bragged to reporters on a near-weekly basis, it’s better for the league to have Hill on the field than it is for the league to not have Hill on the field. Sure, there will be complaints and objections, maybe even a loosely-organized protest. But the potential impact on the league’s business from letting Hill play is smaller than the potential impact on the league’s business from not letting him play, and that’s ultimately all the league cares about.”
Former ESPN NFL writer Ed Werder noted a difference between Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension and Hill’s situation:
Todd Haislap of The Sporting News wrote a story with the headline, “NFL not suspending Tyreek Hill is a surprise — yet, also not a surprise.”
Here is a portion of what Haislap wrote: “The surprise regarding the lack of discipline for Hill stems not from the alleged violence - even though the NFL’s disciplinary process does not carry the same burden of proof as the legal system does - but from this threatening language: ‘You need to be terrified of me, too, dumb b-.’ This is what Hill said to Espinal after she claimed, referring to their 3-year-old son who had suffered the broken arm, ‘He’s terrified of you.’”
ESPN’s Louis Riddick tweeted about jumping to conclusions.
Jane McMahon of the New York Daily News wrote a column with the headline, “Nothing satisfying about NFL’s decision on Tyreek Hill.”
This is a snippet of what McMahon wrote: “A player who threatens a woman? It’s certainly not a surprise. When he puts on a uniform and starts catching some passes in training camp? It’ll barely feel like indigestion. By the time Hill is catching touchdowns for your fantasy team it’ll mean a slightly less enthusiastic first pump. One caveat, the NFL has reserved the right to take another look at the Hill allegations if new information becomes available. You may remember when Giants kicker Josh Brown was suspended for a single game after allegations of domestic violence, only for the league to look foolish as documents revealing the full extent of the abuse were later released.”