Tyreek Hill spoke to assembled media Sunday at Chiefs training camp, his first public comments in several months. The criminal investigation into Crystal Espinal’s allegation that Hill broke his son’s arm is inactive; the NFL’s parallel investigation could not determine whether Hill had violated the league’s personal conduct policy. The path has been cleared for Hill to fully return to action.
Two things stood about about Hill’s Sunday presser. First, Hill was at pains to misrepresent the NFL’s findings, suggesting that Roger Goodell’s decision to forego punishment was guided by a thorough and complete investigation. This would suit Hill, since it would function as a kind of exoneration:
“Roger Goodell and his team, they did their thing, you know what I’m saying, they dug in and they got all the facts, you know what I’m saying. So, like I said, I’m very appreciative for those guys as well.”
But that’s not what happened. By the NFL’s own admission, their decision was guided specifically by their inability to gather all relevant information, a deficit that left them with no basis for making a determination about Hill’s conduct. The league’s announcement was memorable for being almost refreshing—Goodell’s NFL for once declining to act as a kangaroo court when faced with a lack of evidence—but it was very carefully worded to avoid functioning as an exoneration:
The information developed in the court proceedings is confidential and has not been shared with us, and the court has sealed all law enforcement records. Local law enforcement authorities have publicly advised that the available evidence does not permit them to determine who caused the child’s injuries.
Similarly, based on the evidence presently available, the NFL cannot conclude that Mr. Hill violated the Personal Conduct Policy.
The second notable moment in Hill’s presser came at the very end, when he was asked to account for allegations that his son told Child Protective Services “Daddy punches me” as punishment for crying. Hill’s explanation Sunday is that he was giving his son boxing lessons:
“Punching my son in [his] chest, that would probably refer to me teaching my son how to box, ‘cause we do got boxing gloves at our house, and our son he’s like Iron Man. So he loves Iron Man, Aquaman, he’s like “daddy, come on come on come on” all the time. So, that’s what it is, man. And, you know, sometimes things get thrown out of context when feelings get involved, and emotions. But I ain’t gonna get into all that right now.”
It’s worth remembering that when Espinal accused Hill of punching their son in the chest for crying, he did not immediately deny it. Instead, his defense on the recording was to point out that Espinal herself relies on corporal punishment to discipline their son. Here’s video of the presser: