(Tyreek Hill photo courtesy of West Alabama)
By Ron Borges
Talk of Fame Network
Let’s start by making two things clear: First, everyone deserves a second chance. Second, pro football is not the place to solve the problem of domestic violence. Having said that, what the hell were the Chiefs thinking drafting Tyreek Hill last week?
Less than two years ago, Hill got himself chucked out of Oklahoma State after pleading guilty to punching his girlfriend in the face and stomach and then choking her. She was eight weeks pregnant at the time.
Yet with all the available football talent in the land, the Chiefs felt they just had to give this guy a shot at returning punts and kickoffs fewer than four years after another of their players, Jovan Belcher, murdered his 22-year-old girl friend and then killed himself in the Chiefs’ parking lot?
Anybody ever heard of optics in Kansas City?
Chiefs’ general manager John Dorsey insisted he’d never put the community at risk, and head coach Andy Reid said, “There has to be a certain trust here, but there’s just things that we can’t go into and go through.”
Isn’t there always?
Hill entered a court-ordered anger management program after the incident and went off to play Division-II football at West Alabama. He has had no known problems since then and was so fast that 20 NFL teams went down to work him out before the draft. Yet when he addressed the media after the Chiefs took him with the draft’s 165th pick, his words made your skin crawl.
“I got questions everywhere I went, so it wasn’t anything new to me,” Hill said. “I would have just told them straight up, ‘I’m trying to move on from that. I’m trying to be a better young man. I’m trying to show who I truly am.’ Stuff like that. . . . The only thing I did say was, ‘I’m sorry. I messed up. I embarrassed the program at [Oklahoma State]. I embarrassed the coaches. I embarrassed a lot of people back home.’ That’s it. That’s how I explained it.’’
You “embarrassed’’ the program? How about “I’m sorry I ever put my hands on that woman?’
To not acknowledge her is a central part of the abuser’s problem. The victim doesn’t count. Only you do. So you’re sorry you embarrassed the program you were part of … and what was her name again?
If I were the Chiefs, that statement alone would have been a red flag big enough to forfeit the pick and release him, due diligence or no due diligence.
Does Tyreek Hill deserve a second chance? Maybe. But I doubt Microsoft or Goggle would give it to him. That the Chiefs took this kind of gamble says much about why sports is no place to expect domestic violence reform. Hill is super-fast you see, so fast he seems to have been able to outrun even beating up a pregnant woman.
That’s today’s NFL, where talent trumps everything and second chances are too often tied to your 40 time.