Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill won’t be prosecuted for hurting his three-year-old child, even though prosecutors believe someone hurt Hill’s three-year-old child. A prosecution won’t occur because both Hill and the boy’s mother, Crystal Espinal, can invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to cooperate with the investigation and, ultimately, to testify at trial.
That won’t save Hill from the scrutiny of the NFL.
Here’s the key language from the Personal Conduct Policy: “Because the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination does not apply in a workplace investigation, the league will reserve the right to compel a player to cooperate in its investigations even when he is the target of a pending law enforcement investigation or proceeding. A player’s refusal to speak to a league investigator under such circumstances will not preclude an investigation from proceeding or discipline from being imposed.”
Given Hill’s history — he pleaded guilty before entering the NFL to assaulting Espinal while she was pregnant — and the age of the child, the NFL should do what the prosecutor couldn’t do. Specifically, the NFL should presume that Hill is guilty, unless and until Hill persuasively convinces the league that he isn’t.
If he won’t talk to the league, he’s guilty. If he talks to the league but he tells a story that isn’t believable or consistent, he’s guilty. If Espinal tries to take the blame but does so in a way that, given her clear financial interest in protecting Hill, seems flimsy or not credible, he’s guilty.
Indeed, if Hill isn’t guilty he should be committed to bringing to justice whoever injured his child. And it’s fair to assume that Hill and Espinal have circled the wagons to protect each other from potential incarceration.
While that apparently will fly in Johnson County, Kansas (some would say the prosecutor should charge both of them with a crime and let a jury sort it all out, if Hill and Espinal both refuse to testify), it won’t fly at 345 Park Avenue. Especially since Hill escaped scrutiny for assaulting Espinal at a time when he was not yet subject to the Personal Conduct Policy.