Column: Sports Editor uneasy about Tyreek Hill’s lack of punishment

If you asked me back in April whether or not I thought Tyreek Hill would be playing for the Kansas City Chiefs this season my answer would have been a resounding “no.” However, training camp is finished, the preseason is well underway and Hill is still on the Chiefs and has not been punished by the NFL in any way. I think it’s difficult to levy punishment in this situation. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, let me quickly explain. Earlier this offseason, the Chiefs’ wide receiver Tyreek Hill was accused of breaking his three-year-old son’s arm. Soon after, a recording of Hill and his fiancee surfaced in which Hill did not deny breaking his son’s arm. He also made a non-specific threat to his fiancee by saying that she should be afraid of him. Hill was asked to stay away from Chiefs’ activities and an investigation was launched into Hill, his fiancee, and the reported abuse of their son. After many months and much investigation, it was determined that Hill did not break his son’s arm and was allowed to return to the Chiefs with no suspension.

I thought that the NFL would punish Hill if only to satisfy those who cry out for him to be punished for something. Hill has a history of violence from when he was kicked off Oklahoma University’s football team in 2014. He transferred to the University of West Alabama, a Div. II school and was picked in the fifth round of the NFL draft by the Chiefs. And let’s not forget that this is the NFL, the same league that suspended Tom Brady for deflating footballs. Roger Goodell has a heavy hand when it comes to dolling out suspensions. 

Obviously I am biased. The Chiefs are my favorite team and Tyreek Hill is a good player. Do I want good players playing on my favorite team? Of course I do. Despite this, I don’t feel relieved that Hill remains unpunished in his professional career. I was not among the Chiefs’ fans who cheered when he ran onto the field for training camp. The Chiefs’ chances of making the Super Bowl have been greatly increased with Hill on the roster. Usually a wide receiver does not add this much value to a team, but Hill is that good. I think I am resigned to the fact that the NFL will never have a consistent voice on these matters.

I feel uneasy because of the precedent being set. Making threats is against the NFL’s personal conduct policy. So according to the letter of the law Hill should have been suspended. However, investigators determined that Hill did not break his son’s arm. So, the worst thing he did was make a vague threat on tape, and I wonder what kind of precedent would have been set if he had been punished for that alone. 

Let’s all take solace in the fact that Hill’s son is OK. He was removed from a place that was unsafe for a child, whether it was abuse from his father or mother.