The news that Tyreek Hill faces allegations of battery against his child is both shocking and concerning, especially if the child ended up with a broken arm caused by Hill. The circumstances could result in a very significant punishment for the player, in addition to whatever sanctions the criminal justice system may impose.
In 2014, after incidents involving Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Adrian Peterson, the NFL beefed up the Personal Conduct Policy, creating a baseline suspension of six game for any crimes of violence and creating conditions pursuant to which the league can impose a punishment exceeding six games, based on aggravating factors.
“Possible aggravating factors include, but are not limited to, a prior violation of the Personal Conduct Policy, similar misconduct before joining the NFL, violence involving a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or when an act is committed against a particularly vulnerable person, such as a child, a pregnant woman, or an elderly person, or where the act is committed in the presence of a child,” the Personal Conduct Policy explains, with emphasis added.
Apart from the fact that the victim of the alleged misconduct is a child (which constitutes an aggravating factor in and of itself), Hill’s past guilty plea to beating and choking his then-pregnant girlfriend would enhance the penalty even more. Because Hill did what he previously did before entering the NFL, he faced no punishment for it from the league office. That punishment would come now, if a violation is proven based on the new allegations.
Then there’s the question of whether the Chiefs will do to Hill what they did to Kareem Hunt, summarily severing ties with the player based on evidence of misconduct. In Hunt’s case, the Chiefs concluded that he had lied about his involvement in an incident that was later proven by video. In Hill’s case, it’s entirely possible that he was drafted and employed in 2016 under a clear understanding that one false move would get him cut.
Of course, if he’s cut, someone else inevitably will give him another second chance. And that will be a very real factor for the Chiefs to consider before making a final decision. If there’s no longer a place for him in Kansas City, one of the NFL’s other teams would find a way to hold its nose and look the other way to justify embracing arguably the hardest player to defend in the league.
For now, it will become impossible to defend Tyreek Hill as a person, if he did what he’s accused of doing. And if it’s true that he broke his child’s arm, the league office should consider protecting all 32 teams from the temptations of his talents by banishing him from the league.