Tyreek Hill was given the second chance of a lifetime – a spot in the NFL despite pleading guilty to punching and choking his then-pregnant girlfriend while in college.
He honored that by allegedly beating the child they had.
Prosecutors in Johnson County, Kansas are likely to do the NFL’s dirty work for the league here and make sure Hill never plays professional football again. They reopened an investigation Friday just two days after a frustrated district attorney said he believed the now 3-year-old boy, who is said to be “safe” and nowhere near the couple, was a victim of a crime but he couldn’t prove who assaulted him.
Thursday, however, KCTV5 played a disturbing audio of Hill and his girlfriend Crystal Espinal discussing not just the child’s broken arm, but other violent acts, as well as Hill’s mental state that may be the most terrifying part of it all.
Now it’s all back under investigation, and not just child abuse but maybe obstruction, conspiracy and other charges for Hill and Espinal in relation to the initial investigation.
No one has yet been charged and both deserve the presumption of innocence in a court of law. As for the court of public opinion, this would have to be some incredible kind of defense to convince anyone of their innocence. Essentially, the tape would have to be doctored or fake or something. Hill’s camp hasn’t contended such a thing yet.
The Kansas City Chiefs have thus far merely suspended Hill, which is shameful, but a moot point. He’ll be gone, either due to public sentiment or the legal system. If not, the NFL can – and better – place him on the commissioner’s list, which would prohibit him from playing anywhere. Hill can even be hit with a repeat offender charge due to the earlier domestic violence conviction.
Really, football is the least of his problems right now.
This guy has issues on top of issues – legal, mental, maturity. He needs both punishment and counseling. What he doesn’t need is someone to hand him another football and point him out to a cheering stadium.
The 11-minute taped conversation doesn’t cause the visceral reaction that video often does – or did in the cases of Ray Rice, Kareem Hunt and others.
Words matter though and what is detailed on the recording isn’t just tactic acknowledgement of Hill’s actions, but a disturbing look into the mindset that brought it about. It goes beyond Espinal accusing Hill of breaking the boy’s arm or relaying that the boy keeps saying, “Daddy did it.”
The worst part, and this is the worst of a tape full of worsts, comes when Espinal confronts Hill about what appears to be a recurring system of punishment for the “misbehaving” 3-year-old.
“What do you do when the child is bad?” Espinal asked. “You make him open up his arms and you punch him in the chest.”
Hill doesn’t deny it. He just counters by saying Espinal uses a belt on the boy.
The image of a grown man, an NFL player no less, believing that the way to discipline whatever constitutes “bad” behavior in a 3-year-old is to have the child stand with his arms spread so he can slug him in the chest is vomit-inducing.
That’s not a debatable line over parenting styles. That’s horrific, pathetic and the act of a complete coward with no concept of anything, let alone how to be a grown man.
Yet it gets worse because Hill seems to explain that beating his child makes the boy “respect” him – like a 3-year-old can respect anyone.
Espinal: He is terrified of you. And you say that he respects you, but it’s not respect.
Hill: He respects me.
Espinal: He is terrified of you.
Hill: You need to be terrified of me, too, bitch. That’s why you can’t keep a [expletive] man.
For Hill, this isn’t about parenting or teaching a child self-discipline. This is about power, control and some warped sense of importance. It is completely loathsome.
That he again threatens violence against Espinal compounds who Tyreek Hill is and calls into question exactly what, if anything, the Chiefs and the NFL did to help develop a troubled and dangerous employee.
Whatever it was, it didn’t work.
The Chiefs took him because he can really play the game. It’s the same reason they took Kareem Hunt before having to cut him last season. And it’s the same reason they traded for Frank Clark, despite Clark having been thrown off his college team for domestic violence.
There is almost always an appetite for second chances in the NFL. Plenty of them are warranted.
Not this one, certainly not a third chance. Tyreek Hill needs to learn a great deal about the respect he supposedly thought he was commanding by allegedly beating the hell out of a 3-year-old.
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