For Pete's Sake

National writers weigh in on likelihood Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill will be suspended

Update: According to a recording obtained and published Thursday evening by the local television station KCTV-5, Tyreek Hill’s 3-year-old son told his mother the Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver punched him. The Star’s story about that broadcast is here.

The Johnson County District Attorney on Wednesday announced that Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill won’t face criminal charges but believes a crime was committed against the 3-year-old son of Hill and his fiancee, Crystal Espinal.

Although child-abuse charges weren’t filed, Hill could still face discipline from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. As The Star previously reported, the NFL has sought police records about complaints of child abuse involving Hill.

Here is what people are saying:

Michael McCann, who is Sports Illustrated’s legal analyst, wrote a story with the headline, “Tyreek Hill avoids child abuse charges, but Roger Goodell’s ruling still awaits.”

Here is a portion of what he wrote: “While Hill, 25, will avoid charges, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could still suspend him for multiple games. Under Article 46 of the collective bargaining agreement, neither a crime nor any other legal offense is a necessary condition for Goodell to invoke the league’s personal conduct policy. Goodell can punish Hill for any ‘conduct detrimental to the integrity of, or public confidence in, the game of professional football.’

“As Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson and Ezekiel Elliott learned in their unsuccessful litigations over NFL suspensions, Goodell is empowered to make his own factual determinations when reviewing players’ off-field activities. Such determinations can conflict with those of law enforcement and neutral observers. This was particularly apparent in 2016, when Elliott was not charged with a domestic violence crime and where there were serious questions about the implicating evidence. Nonetheless, the NFL’s own investigation concluded that Elliott had violated the league’s personal conduct policy. Goodell then suspended Elliott for six games.”

You can read more here.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk also wrote that Goodell could level a punishment on Hill, quoting the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy that says players can’t invoke Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. On Thursday, Hill said he never invoked the Fifth Amendment when talking with police.

Here is part of what Florio wrote: “If he won’t talk to the league, he’s guilty. If he talks to the league but he tells a story that isn’t believable or consistent, he’s guilty. If Espinal tries to take the blame but does so in a way that, given her clear financial interest in protecting Hill, seems flimsy or not credible, he’s guilty.

“Indeed, if Hill isn’t guilty he should be committed to bringing to justice whoever injured his child. And it’s fair to assume that Hill and Espinal have circled the wagons to protect each other from potential incarceration.”

You can read more here.

Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports wrote a column about Hill. This is an excerpt: “Despite the district attorney’s decision, it’s possible Hill could still be disciplined by the NFL — at least in theory. Since Roger Goodell took over as commissioner in 2006, the NFL has suspended multiple players who weren’t ever arrested or charged. The NFL’s beefed-up personal conduct policy gives the ability to do so, with the most notable recent incident involving Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, who was suspended for six games in 2017 after a former female acquaintance made allegations of domestic violence. Elliott was never charged or arrested.

“In Hill’s case, it stands to reason the NFL could, if it so chooses, use the strong language of the prosecutor on Wednesday to justify discipline of some sorts for Hill, despite the fact Howe said he has not had any contact with the Kansas City Chiefs or the NFL about the case, and has declined to share details of the investigation with both.”

You can read more here.

Football writer Darryl Slater of the Star-Ledger in New Jersey believes Hill could face a long suspension. Here is part of what Slater wrote: “If the possibility exists that Hill did nothing wrong and the child’s mother is to blame, then Hill certainly has some plausible deniability here. Still, the league is not bound by the legal system.

“The NFL now has a minimum suspension of six games for violent crimes, though the league reserves the right to boost that punishment based on aggravating circumstances — including “similar misconduct before joining the NFL.” That would apply in Hill’s case.

“The league’s personal conduct policy also specifies violence against a child as an aggravating circumstance that can result in a suspension of more than six games.”

You can read more here.

Related stories from Kansas City Star