Hours after a disturbing audio recording between Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill and fiancee Crystal Espinal was made public, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach announced Thursday night that Hill would not participate in team activities for the “foreseeable future” while the Chiefs gather more information.
“Earlier this evening we were made aware of the audio between Tyreek and Crystal,” Veach said shortly after the first round of the NFL Draft concluded. “We were made aware of this information in real time, just like the general public.
“We were deeply disturbed by what we heard and were deeply concerned. Obviously we have great concern for Crystal. We are greatly concerned for Tyreek, but our main focus and main concern is with the young child.
“We will make the right decision regarding Tyreek Hill.”
Veach did not take questions after issuing his statement on Hill.
In a brief clip of a more than 11-minute audio recording obtained by KCTV-5, Espinal is heard talking to Hill in the Dubai International Airport. KCTV-5 described the recording as an “insurance policy” for Espinal.
“’Daddy did it,’” Espinal could be heard saying, paraphrasing the boys’ words. “He is terrified of you.”
Hill responded, according to the recording: “You need to be terrified of me, too, b----.”
The team’s decision comes a day after Steve Howe, the Johnson County prosecutor, held a news conference and announced that the criminal investigation involving Hill and the boy’s mother was closed, and he wouldn’t be filing charges.
Howe said then he believed a crime had occurred, but he couldn’t prove who committed it.
“We are deeply troubled by this situation and are concerned about the health and welfare of the child in question,” Howe said.
The Kansas Department of Children and Families has an ongoing child protection case focused on the child, Howe said.
About 8:30 p.m. Thursday, two hours after the audio recordings aired on television, Overland Park police went to Hill and Espinal’s home to check on Espinal, according to Officer John Lacy, a police spokesman.
They were there because of the audio recordings, Lacy said. Police had received an anonymous call about it.
“She was fine,” Lacy said. Police were in contact with Espinal for less than 20 minutes. It’s unclear if Hill was home at the time.
News surfaced in mid-March that Overland Park police took two reports at Hill’s Johnson County home, one for battery and the other for child abuse and neglect. The police reports, dated March 5 and March 14, involved a juvenile.
Hill’s attorneys claimed the wide receiver’s innocence Thursday morning.
“Tyreek has maintained from the inception and throughout the investigation that he was innocent of any crime,” Trey Pettlon, Ryan Ginie and Julius Collins — Hill’s lawyers — said in a statement. “Contrary to some media reports, Tyreek cooperated with law enforcement, waived his Fifth Amendment rights, and answered questions from both law enforcement and DCF. He continues to cooperate with authorities.”
When reached by phone Thursday night, Pettlon didn’t have any comment regarding the audio.