One of the most dynamic rookies in the NFL could have ended up not even getting a chance to perform on the sport’s biggest stage. As one league source told PFT during Tyreek Hill’s latest stellar performance in his first season with the Chiefs, most teams had Hill off their draft boards.
His talent was undeniable, with more than 1,800 all-purpose yards in his first and only year at Oklahoma State. But then came an arrest for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend, and Hill ended up out of Stillwater.
“We knew the deal,” the source said regarding his own team, “and so did most others. The league was allegedly taking a stance on domestic violence.”
Hill, who pleaded guilty and remains on probation, benefits from the fact that there was no video of his crime. If there were, would Hill have been shunned by the NFL completely? Former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, whose crime against a female was caught on camera in graphic fashion, will be the next test of that theory.
But why do we need to see what a guy did to realize what it looks like? That was the most overlooked reality of the Ray Rice video fiasco. Whether the league did or didn’t receive the in-elevator video before TMZ published it should have been irrelevant; anyone with an ounce of common sense and a skosh of human compassion should be able to picture just how ugly and distasteful the images would be without actually seeing them.
The Chiefs took some heat for drafting Hill in round five. They surely would have taken much more if the world could have seen Hill choking his pregnant girlfriend and striking her in the face and stomach. Chances are that, if video had existed, the Chiefs wouldn’t have drafted him at all.
“He was kind of hidden in the draft because of some things,” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said after Sunday night’s 33-10 win over the Broncos. “He’s been nothing but a grade-A character guy in the locker room and we love him for that.”
It’s important for people to have second chances; for now, Hill is making the most of his. In some cases, however, it’s not the behavior but the availability of visual evidence that determines whether a guy does or doesn’t get a second chance. Whether or not that’s fair, Tyreek Hill has benefitted from it.