It this were a Sunday during the regular season, the pregame shows would be rife with reports regarding the status of Tyreek Hill. Then again, if this were a Sunday during the regular season, there would be nothing to report because Tyreek Hill already would be on the Commissioner Exempt list.
Multiple reports (including one posted here) indicated that the league was likely to place Hill on the Commissioner Exempt list last week. The league didn’t do it. Instead, the league did nothing about Hill. Even now, 10 days after the disturbing audio of Hill telling a woman he once choked and beat while pregnant that “you need to be terrified of me too, bitch” surfaced, the NFL has taken no action and issued no comment about Hill’s situation.
The league hasn’t acted because the league doesn’t need to act. Also, because the entire Personal Conduct Policy mechanism flows from a desire to manipulate P.R. in the NFL’s favor, the league has made a conscious decision not to act, in order to keep the Hill story from becoming bigger than it already it is.
That’s not a report, per se. It’s a reflection of the basic application of common sense. If the NFL were to put Hill on the Commissioner Exempt list, it would spark an Associated Press story that would be carried by every newspaper and related website in the country. People who may have missed the news of the Tyreek Hill audio — news that was completely ignored by NFL Network when it surfaced on the first night of the draft and mostly ignored by ESPN and ABC — would now be aware of it. Obviously, news of something this bad wouldn’t be good for the NFL.
The story gained some traction on Thursday, when Hill’s lawyer submitted (and leaked) an ill-advised letter that ultimately won’t do much to keep Hill from serving a suspension. But the league specifically has avoided what fairly can be regarded as one of the biggest stories of the offseason, presumably because it’s a story the league wishes didn’t exist.
The Chiefs likewise haven’t done much with the story since essentially suspending Hill. Coach Andy Reid, addressing the media on Saturday at the outset of rookie minicamp, made it clear that he had nothing to add.
“If anyone’s here with a Tyreek question, nothing’s changed since the last time we spoke and Brett [Veach] spoke, so I’ll just leave it at that and I’m not going to get into that, so this is the rookies’ time,” Reid said.
Eventually, the league will have no choice but to address Hill’s situation. Until that time comes, look for the NFL to continue to say nothing, because there’s nothing that can be said to make the situation anything other than a negative for a league that would prefer that all media (including the media it owns and operates) focus only on stories that make the league and its teams look good.
So, basically, forget about Hill and get back to consuming videos and articles that praise every team’s draft, that hype every team’s offseason progress, and that create the impression that, somehow, the postseason field for 2019 has been increased to 32.