The league moved quickly to launch an investigation regarding possible child-abuse complaints involving Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill, so quickly that the request for information came before the date of the latest police report on the topic. Given the latest development in the case, the league could move quickly to take action against Hill, if it wants to.
The reported removal of the three-year-old boy from the custody of Hill and the boy’s mother did not happen quickly or easily. It’s an extreme outcome that occurs only when a judge orders it. And it occurs only when a judge has determined that the child’s environment is sufficiently unsafe to justify removing the child from the home and placing the child elsewhere. Even if Hill himself did not commit an act of child abuse against his three-year-old son, Hill is a key member of a household deemed by a judge to be unfit to care for the boy.
And here’s how that becomes a potentially significant problem for Hill. The list of behaviors that can result in discipline under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy includes this: “Conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person.”
Applying basic logic to the situation, a judge wouldn’t have removed Hill’s son from the home unless the judge believed that the boy’s “safety and well-being” were in “genuine danger.” Which means that there’s already enough evidence to justify punishing Hill under the Personal Conduct Policy.
The league office has clear power to do basically whatever it wants to do under the Personal Conduct Policy, and Hill’s history could make the league office more likely to pursue him aggressively. He pleaded guilty to assaulting his then-pregnant girlfriend before entering the NFL, something for which the NFL couldn’t have disciplined him. But the NFL can do so now, and the NFL could be more inclined to do it to Hill, if there’s a belief in the league office that he has not suffered a sufficient sanction for what he previously did.
And that’s without an arrest or charges or a specific finding that Hill committed any type of violence against the boy. If the investigation pivots in that direction, it could only get worse for Hill.
For now, it’s bad enough — and the situation presents sufficiently unique circumstances to allow the league to punish Hill aggressively, if that’s what the league wants to do.