Kansas City Chiefs Draft Tyreek Hill, Expose NFL's Horrifying Record on Domestic Violence

Source: AP
Source: AP

The Kansas City Chiefs used a fifth-round draft pick Saturday to select Tyreek Hill, a former Oklahoma State running back who pled guilty to punching and choking his pregnant girlfriend during an altercation in December 2014.

The move came less than two years after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell gave Ray Rice a paltry two-game suspension for punching his now-wife, Janay Rice, and knocking her unconscious — a widely criticized decision that forced the league to rethink how it confronted domestic abuse.

Now, the Chiefs have reignited the debate with a questionable decision of their own.

"We want people to understand ... we're not going to do anything to put this community or this organization in a bind," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid explained to reporters. "We uncovered every possible stone that we possibly could, and we feel very comfortable with that part of it." 

The explanation came in response to the flurry of negative responses that flooded the team's Twitter account this weekend:

In the course of reassuring journalists and Chiefs fans, Reid declined to say whether the vetting process around Hill — which reportedly included talking to his former teammates and coaches — also included speaking with Crystal Espinal, the woman Hill assaulted.

The Chiefs' move is especially hypocritical in light of recent league policy shifts. Since the aforementioned Rice incident — in which a Baltimore Ravens running back punched his then-girlfriend in the head and dragged her out of an elevator, only to have the NFL cover up incriminating surveillance footage of the incident — the league has been publicly berated into changing its approach to domestic violence.

A set of new conduct policies was implemented in December 2014 to deal with the issue. These included a baseline six-game suspension for players involved in domestic abuse incidents, league-funded counseling and services for victims, families and violators, and procedures for independent investigations into domestic violence incidents and allegations.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.
Source: 
Elsa/Getty Images

But there's no rule against drafting a player with a history of violence against women in his past — or against hiring one. Nor have these new policies stopped NFL players from making headlines regardless: Defensive end Greg Hardy was signed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2015 after brutally beating his girlfriend, an incident that's shadowed talk around him since 2014. A Dallas County grand jury is currently deciding whether to charge ex-Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel for allegedly hitting his ex-girlfriend so hard she temporarily lost hearing in one ear. 

Rice, Hardy and Manziel are all unsigned free agents now — a testament, perhaps, to the public relations challenge they present for teams hoping to sign them. Which makes the Chiefs' drafting of Hill especially curious. The 22-year-old running back is currently serving three years probation for attacking his then-girlfriend, but nevertheless managed to be selected by a team that made headlines in 2012 when one of its players, Jovan Belcher, shot and killed his girlfriend before killing himself.

In a culture that routinely excuses violence against women — one that includes a sports media that allowed ESPN's Stephen A. Smith to openly speculate on-air as to what responsibility women have to avoid getting beaten by their boyfriends — the Chiefs' decision isn't entirely surprising. But it is disappointing, and it shows how much NFL teams still have to learn about the seriousness of domestic violence.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs/article74977737.html#storylink=cpy


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs/article74977737.html#storylink=cpy


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs/article74977737.html#storylink=cpy

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Zak Cheney Rice

Zak is a Senior Staff Writer at Mic.

MORE FROM

Democrats on Neil Gorsuch's first Supreme Court term: "We've got another Scalia"

Some say Gorsuch's even-handed performance during his confirmation hearings "might be more an act than it was a real persona."

Fox News just hired US Rep. Jason Chaffetz as a correspondent

Chaffetz is headed to Fox.

Here are the key rulings from the Supreme Court's busy June term

The court's term ended with rulings on immigration, the First Amendment, LGBTQ rights and more.

These 3 Republican governors could pose the biggest threat to the Senate health care bill

Why some Republican governors oppose their own party's health care bill

When it comes to upholding the Paris climate agreement, America's mayors are leading the way

In spite of an uncooperative U.S. government, mayors around the world are working together to set the agenda on climate change.

The fatal Hillsborough Stadium Disaster is back in the news 30 years later. Here's why.

What was the Hillsborough Stadium disaster?

Democrats on Neil Gorsuch's first Supreme Court term: "We've got another Scalia"

Some say Gorsuch's even-handed performance during his confirmation hearings "might be more an act than it was a real persona."

Fox News just hired US Rep. Jason Chaffetz as a correspondent

Chaffetz is headed to Fox.

Here are the key rulings from the Supreme Court's busy June term

The court's term ended with rulings on immigration, the First Amendment, LGBTQ rights and more.

These 3 Republican governors could pose the biggest threat to the Senate health care bill

Why some Republican governors oppose their own party's health care bill

When it comes to upholding the Paris climate agreement, America's mayors are leading the way

In spite of an uncooperative U.S. government, mayors around the world are working together to set the agenda on climate change.

The fatal Hillsborough Stadium Disaster is back in the news 30 years later. Here's why.

What was the Hillsborough Stadium disaster?