Adam Schefter just announced via Twitter that the NFL has no plans to take action against Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill, who was accused of assaulting his son:
NFL will not discipline Chiefs’ WR Tyreek Hill, who was accused of assaulting his son. League could not find evidence he did; it will leave open case if further evidence emerges, but Hill is free to report to camp, practice and play this season.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 19, 2019
Naturally, as with any sports-related story, there are no shortage of opinions on the matter.
I’m not going to get into the decision itself, as I haven’t really been following the Tyreek Hill case at all. I don’t know what’s true and what isn’t, what information exists and what doesn’t, and other than that phone call I haven’t heard anything else about Hill’s case one way or another. I’m a strong believer in due process, and while the internet certainly doesn’t operate this way, accusing someone of doing something doesn’t even remotely mean he actually did it.
That said, with this latest decision, a giant, megawatt-sized light beam is once again shining on just how ridiculous, nonsensical, and inconsistent the NFL’s punishment policy is. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to which players get suspended for what, what exactly constitutes “evidence” in the eyes of the league, and how the NFL’s “personal conduct policy” factors into Roger Goodell’s decision making. Hit your kid? Suspended for a year. Knock out your girlfriend in an elevator? Two games sounds about right. Smoke a joint? Four games is standard there. But what about if you don’t test positive for anything banned, but there is an unidentifiable substance in your urine? No matter, four games again. Leave the scene of an accident? I don’t know...how about six games? Might possibly be aware that there may have been a more probable than not chance that air might have been taken out of footballs? Four games, a million dollars, and a first round draft pick. It makes absolutely zero sense, and any fan, of any team, who isn’t infuriated by that needs to step back and look at the bigger picture. It’s detrimental to the sport and, quite frankly, embarrassing.
Make no mistake: my feeling this way has nothing to do with the Chiefs, or with Hill. This article isn’t a shot at Hill in any way. As a player, he’s absolutely electric, he makes the league more fun, and if he is in fact innocent of the charges, I’m glad to see that he won’t miss any time. If he’s guilty, I hope that evidence comes to light and he gets everything that’s coming to him; I think we can all agree to that. I just wonder what Ezekiel Elliott, who served a six game suspension in 2017 for violating the personal conduct policy, thinks about the league’s official statement that “based on the evidence currently available, the NFL cannot conclude that Mr. Hill violated the Personal Conduct Policy.” If you recall Elliott was suspended for far less than a confirmed phone call recording in which “Daddy did it” and “you need to be terrified of me too, b**ch” are clearly audible. How is getting rowdy at a club in which a DJ was punched and some inexcusable contact with a woman at a parade somehow six full games worse than threatening the mother of your child like that over the phone? Even if that’s as far as it went and there was no violence at all (which I sincerely hope is the case) with Hill, how is that phone call not a personal conduct violation? What speaks to poor personal conduct if not threatening a woman over the phone? Would Hill have gotten suspended if he destroyed the phone after the call? Is that where the league draws the line?
It isn’t surprising that the NFL made a disciplinary decision that doesn’t make any sense, and I legitimately hope that they got it right; given the microscope the league has been under regarding their response to domestic violence, it’s certainly in their best interest to do everything in their power to act appropriately. Again, I haven’t been following the case and I’m not qualified to say whether or not Hill is or isn’t innocent. What I am qualified to do, however, is use the platform I’m given at Pats Pulpit to call out the league for turning its disciplinary process into a total joke via year after year of poor decision making, political grandstanding, and prioritizing profit over principle. With the CBA set to expire soon and negotiations already underway between the league and the NFLPA, I can only hope that one of the major issues that will be addressed at the negotiating table is player discipline and ways to create an understandable, fair, and justified punishment system that hinges on more than public opinion and the bottom line.
I’m getting sicker and sicker of asking “now can we just get back to football?” And the NFL has nobody to blame for that but themselves.