They say the devil’s in the details…
That said, if you’re relying on local sports media or the NFL to report the sordid details of rookie Chiefs star Tyreek Hill’s dastardly treatment of the mother of his young son, you best not hold your breath.
The Kansas City Star’s Sam Mellinger and other local media gave lip service to Hill’s shameful behavior last year -but glossed over the specifics of his reprehensible abuse of the mother of his toddler son Zev.
Hill’s official statement: “I was in a fight with my girlfriend that turned physical between us and I wrongfully put her in a headlock, putting external pressure on her neck that compressed her airway causing bodily injury.”
That’s how Mellinger watered the story down.
“I — I did something that — I did something that I shouldn’t have done that night, which was I just let my feelings take — take control of me,” was Hill’s 2015 courtroom testimony. “I wasn’t thinking. I just — I just reacted and hit her, choked her. I’m real sorry for that.”
Sam the Man’s take: “The Chiefs are also betting that the initial anger won’t last more than one local news cycle.”
Fellow Star sports scribe Vahe Gregorian put it this way:
“If he continues at his current pace, Hill surely will become a candidate for NFL rookie of the year — which would provide yet more to process about his visibility even as he pays his debt to society during his suspended sentence.”
Debt to society?
Hill got off with a wrist slap for a heinous crime that could and probably should have resulted in a felony conviction punishable by one to three years in prison and/or a $3,000 fine.
Turns out Mellinger’s prediction that Hill’s crime would soon be forgotten was spot on, but not just by the Chiefs.
“Tyreek Hill has reached Bo Jackson Tecmo greatness,” reads a recent headline on NFL.com.
“He is a video-game player sprung to life,” the story continues. “Perhaps when Kia mercifully puts their Bo Jackson Tecmo Bowl as to rest – please, I’m begging you – a follow-up can star Hill laying waste to his opposition with a waterfall of home-run chunk plays.”
Jock sniffers tend to be quick to forgive and forget.
But let’s balance those scales by reporting the specifics of Hill’s actions that the Tulsa World laid bare after he was dismissed from the Oklahoma State football team for his assault on former girlfriend Crystal Espinal:
“Espinal told police in December that she and Hill had been dating since June. According to information given to Stillwater police, her age was 20 at the time of the incident and she now would be in her fifth month of pregnancy. She testified on Monday that she and Hill had sex during the evening of Dec. 11, and then ‘were planning on going to the movies’ when he became angered by messages he saw on her phone.
“Hill ‘threw my laptop (and) my phone into the hallway’ before ordering her to leave his apartment, Espinal testified. She said she was in the hallway outside of Hill’s room, but did not leave because she wearing only a T-shirt and underwear. After she reentered the apartment, ‘domestic violence occurred,’ she said…
“In response to questions from Payne County Assistant District Attorney Lynn Hermanson, Espinal said that Hill ‘punched my face. … When I tried to get up, I was put into a chokehold (for) longer than a minute.’
“Espinal, who at the time of the alleged attack told police investigators that she was pregnant with Hill’s child, said Hill punched her stomach “on the left side,’ and after that ‘grabbed my neck … and started choking me again. … He was pounding my head against the wall. He eventually stopped.’
“When asked why she believes Hill stopped with his alleged attack, Espinal replied, ‘I think he had a realization moment.’
“In the original Stillwater police report, Espinal was said to have told an investigating officer that Hill ‘threw her around like a ragdoll. … She explained Tyreek has a volatile temper and that he thought it was OK to punch and choke her.’ ”
Funny how Chiefs media homers opted to run with Hill’s watered down account of the crime rather than Espinal’s.
Equally low brow is that nowhere on Espinal’s recent Facebook or Twitter accounts or in Google searches does Hill appear to have taken any sort of active role as a father to young Zev.
That despite Gregorian’s quoting him as saying, “I’m really dedicated and I’m going to stick to it, so I can be a better man and a better citizen for this community and a better father to my son.”
So yeah, as Chiefs fans continue to embrace the “new, reformed” Hill, they may want to reserve judgement as to his PR constructed character and morals based on a little more than his on field football stats.