In late November, the Chiefs abruptly released running back Kareem Hunt after video emerged of Hunt shoving and kicking a woman in the hallway of a Cleveland hotel. Currently, the Chiefs have yet to release receiver Tyreek Hill after audio emerged of Hill threatening the mother of his three-year-old child and apparently admitting to breaking the boy’s arm.
Several reasons exist for the differences in treatment. First, although Hunt is good (he led the league in rushing in 2017), Hill is better. Much better. He’s perhaps the best receiver in the NFL, given what he can do with the ball and what he does to a defense, which has no choice but to cover every inch of the field (especially with a quarterback who can put the ball anywhere on the field).
Second, unless the Chiefs are certain that Hill will be banished by the league, the Chiefs have to worry about the man who drafted Hill giving him safe harbor in Cleveland. Browns G.M. John Dorsey already has signed Hunt, and adding Hill to a passing game that features Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, and Baker Mayfield could make the Browns into a dynasty.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, the Chiefs cut Hunt because he’d lied to them. He said he didn’t do anything, and the video showed that he did. Hill didn’t lie to the Chiefs because, per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Chiefs did not interview Hill regarding the child-abuse investigation.
The statement issued by Hill on Thursday includes an explanation from his lawyers that Hill met with law enforcement, did not invoke his Fifth Amendment rights, and answered all questions. Given that the prosecutor opted not to charge Hill or anyone else due to a lack of evidence regarding the identity of the person who injured Hill’s child, it’s safe to say that Hill denied doing so.
If Hill had said the same thing to the Chiefs, the audio would have become proof that Hill lied to the team. Which would have made it even harder for the Chiefs to not take quick and decisive action.
That said, the Chiefs didn’t refrain from talking to Hill in order to avoid giving him an opportunity to lie. The NFL quickly intervened in the Hill case, and at that point the Chiefs deferred to the league office.
Although these factors may explain the differences between the ultra-swift action taken against Hunt and the slower pace (relatively speaking) of the Hill case, the Chiefs still need to cut Hill now, absent credible evidence that the compelling and disturbing audio that surfaced Thursday evening was in some way falsified or doctored.