After the Chiefs announced that they were releasing Kareem Hunt on Friday night, hours after video surfaced of Hunt pushing and kicking a woman in February, some may be tempted to credit the team for showing no tolerance for violence against women. But the Chiefs are also the team that drafted Tyreek Hill.
Hill, the star receiver and returner whom the Chiefs drafted in 2016, was off most teams’ draft boards because of a 2014 domestic violence case.
The details of that case are extremely disturbing. Hill’s pregnant girlfriend, Crystal Espinal, told police Hill grabbed her by the neck, pinned her against a wall, threw her to the ground, picked her up by her hair, put her in a headlock, then sat on top of her, punching her in the stomach.
Hill was immediately kicked off the football team at Oklahoma State. He later pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation and was sentenced to three years of probation. He was still on probation when the Chiefs drafted him. If the Chiefs feel so strongly about violence against women that they won’t tolerate Hunt, why were they willing to draft Hill, when Oklahoma State and most NFL teams had decided he wasn’t someone they would associate with?
A major difference between the two is that Hunt was caught on tape, and Hill was not. If a video existed of Hill attacking a pregnant woman, would his football career have ended before he ever got to the NFL? That is entirely possible. As the Ray Rice case showed, video makes things different.
But there are other differences between Hunt and Hill. One is that Hunt’s victim wanted to press charges and was blown off by police, while Hill did face charges, pleaded guilty, served his probation, and was forgiven by his victim. Hill told reporters two months ago that he and Espinal now live together, with their 3-year-old son, in Kansas City, and that they are engaged to be married.
Hill seems to have made the most of the second chance he was given. Hunt, because he’s a good, young player, will likely get a second chance as well. From one of the NFL’s 31 other teams, if not from the Chiefs.