News came on Friday the Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill is not the subject of an active criminal investigation. Some believed that this development marked the end of Hill’s potential troubles with the league. It did not.
News came on Monday that investigators previously decided that the broken arm suffered by Hill’s three-year-old son happened accidentally. Some will believe that this development marks the end of Hill’s potential troubles with the league. It does not.
WHB radio in Kansas City reports that investigators decided early in the process that neither Hill nor Crystal Espinal, the boy’s mother, broke the child’s arm. Initial reporting in March from the Kansas City Star regarding the child-abuse investigation characterized the injury as a broken arm before removing that reference from the story and then re-inserting it.
Before some Chiefs fans insist that the news of an accidental broken arm mandates Hill’s immediate return to team activities, two key paragraphs from the WHB story need to be read and understood. They appear below.
“The investigation into the couple’s parenting accelerated when Overland Park police checked on the boy in March and found bruises and welts on his body,” the report explains. “Both Hill and Espinal have admitted to investigators that they spanked the three-year-old with their hands and a belt, but prosecutors can’t determine for sure which parent, or if both, went too far.
“In April Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe held a press conference to announce criminal charges wouldn’t be brought against Hill or Espinal but stated he believed a crime was committed against the boy and it was believed the crime was about the broken arm. It was not. Howe’s team has halted working on the case as they still can’t bring charges for bruising and harming the boy.”
In other words, Howe still believes a crime was committed against Hill’s son and Hill remains a suspect, given that Hill has admitted to spanking the three-year-old boy with his hands and with a belt. Since both parents were involved in spanking the boy, however, prosecutors can’t prove which one committed the crime.
As explained on Sunday, Hill can be disciplined under the Personal Conduct Policy even without proof that he injured his son. Hill can be disciplined for making threats against Espinal (he told her “you need to be terrified of me too, bitch” as the couple argued the question of whether the boy respects Hill or is terrified of him), and Hill can be disciplined for creating an environment for his child deemed sufficiently unsafe to justify his removal from the home, an extraordinary step for the government to take.
The league informed PFT on Friday that the news of no active criminal investigation has no impact on the league’s position regarding Hill, since the NFL has opted to wait for the Child Protective Services proceeding to end before interviewing Hill. Monday’s news won’t change the league’s posture, either.
If anything, the portion of the report indicating that Hill has admitted to spanking the child with his hands and with a belt will make more susceptible, not less susceptible, to a suspension.