What are the bounds of a good athlete? Are superior sports stats a get-out-of-jail-free card for athletes? How long do women wait for justice before the influential sports figure?
Before starting the discourse of the promising future of the athlete that should not be ruined because of their past mistakes, here are a few case studies for due consideration–
Disclaimer: some of these cases have not reached a verdict yet, so the subtext here is “allegations.”
- The 33-year-old Irish WWE wrestler JD McDonagh was exposed for allegedly abusing his then-girlfriend, who came out with her story during the #SpeakingOut movement– a dedicated initiative for women to speak out against the influential wrestlers in the UK.
- Kevin Porter Jr., the promising Houston Rockets’ guard, was arrested on September 11 for the brutal attack and strangulation of his girlfriend, who was a former WNBA player.
- Art Biles, a former NFL Baylor coach, was fired after he was allegedly involved in intimidating the victims who came forward against his players who sexually assaulted them.
- Lastly, let’s go back to the systemic and historical pattern in which women are abused by influential sportspersons supported by their respective federations. Jim Brown, one of the most celebrated athletes, has been accused by multiple women of violence, including his wife.
These are just a few of many cases with a common denominator– abusive men being protected because they are churning money for giant corporations. The sports federations go to lengths to shield the athletes as an “investment.” But at what cost? The cost of justice for women at the helm of abusive men and powerful corporations.
Today’s case of Tyreek Hill reeks of male privilege.
Tyreek Hill, NFL wide receiver, was accused by his ex-girlfriend Crystal Espinal of domestic violence while she was pregnant in 2014. Hill was charged with felony domestic assault and battery by strangulation but spent only a night in jail and received three years’ probation in a plea deal. Five years later, he was accused of child abuse. He has been under police investigation since 2019 for battery involving Espinal’s 3-year-old son, who sustained a broken arm. But the controversy erupted when the NFL did nothing to discipline his actions and swept them under the rug, citing insufficient evidence to make a conclusion.
What Was Tyreek Hill Accused of Doing?
Tyreek was a star player in his college career at Division-I football at Oklahoma State. Riding on the “college jock” stereotype, Hill belonged to the popular cliques. Being one of the top scorers in his debut season for the team, Hill was expected to be drafted as soon as he graduated.
He was in a relationship with his girlfriend, Crystal Espinal. Hill had it all– decent career stats, a popular image, and a girlfriend as a trophy.
But right after the first season with the Cowboys, allegations surfaced stating that he had physically assaulted Espinal after she reported to the police that an argument on the night of December 12, 2014, escalated drastically.
This included Hill punching the woman on her face and stomach. In a more disturbing revelation, Espinal said she was eight weeks pregnant. More than herself, she was worried about the baby before seeking medical attention.
Yet, a few years later, Hill and Espinal got engaged, and she gave birth to their son.
Then came even more unnerving allegations against Hill. He was accused of child abuse when Espinal’s three-year-old son suffered a broken arm in March of 2019.
Tyreek Hill Controversy Explained
Here’s why this case is so controversial and 100 steps back for the safety of women and children.
- When Hill was accused of strangulation and physical assault against his ex-girlfriend, he spent a whole night in jail– it must have been tough on him with a bruised arm after hitting his girlfriend (high voltage sarcasm). He was given three years’ probation under the plea deal. As a part of this sweetheart deal, he must complete an anger management course and a 52-week Batterer’s Intervention Program. He was suspended by the Oklahoma State college team in the following season.
- Trigger Warning: extreme infuriation– Hill was picked in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, who knew about his felony charges. He was instead celebrated for his on-field production, including 883 yards from scrimmage in the current season, contributing to the team’s win.
- The child abuse case against Hill has been under investigation for the past four years. The NFL said that they would conduct an internal investigation after the Kansas Department of Children and Families finished its own probe of the allegations. Both Hill and Espinal were cleared of child abuse charges, as announced by the Johnston County, Mo., district attorney. However, the investigation of a child being harmed is still active.
- Hills statement–“I love and support my family above anything.”
“My son’s health and happiness is my number one priority. I want to thank the Kansas City Chiefs, my attorneys, my agent, and my union for supporting me through this. My focus remains on working hard to be the best person for my family and our community I can be and the best player to help our team win.”
- Right after this statement, an audio clip that exhibited a discussion between Hill and Espinal suggested they were involved in the abuse.
- The NFL made a shocking decision not to take disciplinary action against Tyreek Hill since they believed the evidence wasn’t enough to determine whether Hill was involved. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said– “When viewed in the context of the full 11-minute, 27-second audio recording and all other information gathered, the statement did not rise to a level of warranting discipline under the personal conduct policy.”
- Chiefs’ general manager Brett Veach was reportedly disturbed by this revelation. Hill’s representatives later announced that he was suspended from the Kansas State Chiefs.
- Even after the active investigation, Hill remains an influential figure in the NFL scene as he now plays for the Miami Dolphins.
Without any more points, passing the baton to you- what is your verdict? Do you think the NFL covered up for Hill? Do you believe Hill is innocent?
If not, what would you say about the justice system for a child’s safety? Let us know in the comments section below.