The news raises more questions than it answers, given that the league previously has suggested that it is deferring to the still-pending proceeding that resulted in Hill’s three-year-old son being removed from the custody of Hill and the boy’s mother. Unless that proceeding has ended, or unless the league has secured permission from the court to speak to Hill, the league’s decision to move forward conflicts with its prior messages.
The league also will reportedly meet with Hill on multiple occasions, which can be regarded as an indication that Hill is being investigated for multiple potential violations of the Personal Conduct Policy. As previously explained, Hill could in theory be disciplined for making threats against Crystal Espinal, and for contributing to conditions that resulted in Hill’s child being removed from his custody.
However it plays out, the league seems to realize that something tangible needs to happen before training camp opens. Hovering over the situation is Hill’s history of admitted violence against Espinal, coupled with the chilling suggestion that further violence against Espinal is possible, when he said to her earlier this year during an argument over whether their child respects Hill or is terrified of him, “You need to be terrified of me too, bitch.”
It’s hard to imagine the NFL not punishing that comment, given Hill’s past conduct (for which he was never suspended by the league) and the NFL’s decision in 2018 to suspend Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith for making threats and engaging in emotional abuse with respect to the mother of his child.