For Pete's Sake

National reaction to letter from Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill’s lawyer to the NFL

Clark Hunt echoes team statement on Tyreek Hill, reiterates he’s not with the team

In an NFL Draft weekend availability, team CEO and Chairman Clark Hunt told reporters he echoed the team's statement on the Tyreek Hill video, saying he was deeply disturbed by the audio. He also reiterated that Hill wasn't with the team.
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In an NFL Draft weekend availability, team CEO and Chairman Clark Hunt told reporters he echoed the team's statement on the Tyreek Hill video, saying he was deeply disturbed by the audio. He also reiterated that Hill wasn't with the team.

The latest twist in the Tyreek Hill saga came Thursday afternoon when ESPN shared a four-page letter from Hill’s attorney, Trey Pettlon, to the NFL.

Pettlon’s letter disputes almost every claim of child abuse made in an audio recording with Hill’s fiancee, Crystal Espinal, that aired on KCTV-5 last week.

The latest twist led to discussion among reporters and columnists across the country. Here is a sample of what was being said.

Dennis Young of the New York Daily News wrote a column with the headline, “The Chiefs are happy to let Tyreek Hill shift the blame.” Here is an excerpt: “They cut Kareem Hunt, a star in his own right but far less valuable than Hill, when video came out in November of the running back kicking and shoving a woman. But the Chiefs said at the time that they didn’t cut him for the assault, but for lying about it.

“By that standard, the Hill audio is much worse. In the taped conversation — which Hill’s lawyer said today was authentic — he berated Espinal for not lying to investigators in 2014 (when he was convicted of assaulting her) or now.

“But applying a consistent standard has never been the NFL’s goal. Staying just on the right side of public relations is, and the Chiefs are betting that they’ll be able to hang on to Hill by an inch.”

Deadspin’s Diana Moskovitz wrote a piece with the headline, “All the things Tyreek Hill’s lawyer left out of the letter to the NFL.” Here is a portion of what she wrote: “What does all this mean? Very little other than that Hill has obtained a defense lawyer who is going to defend his client vigorously. One unfortunate consequence of pushing domestic violence into the criminal justice system is that it becomes yet another crime at the whims of that very system, which often creates a fight between dueling lawyers all scrambling to tell the best narrative to serve their own ends. Pushing this into the NFL’s adjudication system, essentially a shoddy recreation of the criminal justice system in how it functions, means this case also will devolve into little more than who can the NFL apportion blame to in a manner that best serves the league’s economic and public relations interests.”

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote about the letter from Hill’s lawyer. This is a snippet: “That doesn’t mean the letter should be regarded as entirely accurate and truthful. The challenge for Pettlon is to take an ugly set of facts and spin them as positively as possible. In one specific respect, he tries a little too hard.

“In the second paragraph of the letter, Pettlon confirms that the child suffered a broken arm, and Pettlon claims that the ‘investigation was closed with nothing about the injury to suggest it was anything but an accident.’ Later in the letter, Pettlon claims that the district attorney ‘reviewed all the evidence ... before he declined to prosecute either party in this case.’ These contentions ignore the fact that the district attorney public declared that he believes a crime was committed against the child, and that the decision not to prosecute resulted only from an inability to prove conclusively who committed the crime.”

Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports wrote a column about the letter. Here is an excerpt: “When the Chiefs cut Kareem Hunt the same night a video of him striking a woman in a hotel hallway surfaced last November, they did so because they believed he wasn’t truthful to them throughout the process, and the video offered proof. Hunt admitted as much days after he was released in a sit-down interview with ESPN.

“It stands to reason that the team’s decision to stick with Hill after the airing of the audio — which they heard in real-time — could be an indication that they had long been aware of Hill’s side of the story detailed in the letter. It’s also an indication that Hill’s story has been consistent up to this point, unlike Hunt’s.”

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From covering the World Series to the World Cup, Pete has done a little bit of everything since joining The Star in 1997. He writes about baseball and has a quirky blog that augments The Star’s coverage of area teams.
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