“With the 165th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select …. Tyreek Hill”
Cue the uproar, cue the boo’s, cue the same question appearing on social media over and over again “Why have the Chiefs selected Tyreek Hill? … didn’t he beat up his pregnant girlfriend?”
There’s no getting away from the facts, Tyreek Hill DID do the crime and has even admitted it by pleading guilty during his court case in 2014 … so, what now?
As NFL fans we have various opinions on different players in the league, some we hate, some we love and some that we’re not sure whether we should like them or not. Some players do controversial things that we often look at from our own personal life experiences and beliefs, and we’ll condemn them for it if we feel it goes against everything we stand for. It’s human nature.
Over the years we’ve seen players arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) which could mean either alcohol or drugs. We’ve also seen players arrested for gun crimes, dog-fighting, rape and obviously in this case, domestic violence.
Over the last 2-3 years, the NFL has had a solid stance on domestic violence, the Ray Rice situation has been the most prominent after the video footage of him hitting his wife as they stepped out of a lift was shown around the world. Domestic violence is obviously a brutal and heinous crime, and is definitely not something I would ever condone.
We’ve already established that Hill admitted he did what he did, that much is true, what happened with his ex-girlfriend, happened, nothing can ever change that. But it’s how a person comes to terms with their actions that is the key thing here.
Prior to the NFL Draft, Andy Reid and John Dorsey approached the Chiefs owner, Clark Hunt, to seek approval before they drafted Hill. That approval was given due to the amount of background checks the Chiefs scouting team did on Hill.
The Chiefs maintain that they thoroughly vetted Hill, a process that included talking with the prosecutor who handled the case. Reid also mentioned that his own wife, Tammy, has done extensive work with domestic violence groups and even noted that Hill’s willingness to accept counseling was a sign of positive growth.
As NFL fan’s, we repeat what we see and hear in the media, therefore we could be forgiven for just looking at what Hill did and making our own judgement on that alone … but it’s what Hill has done afterwards that gave the Chiefs the reassurance to give him a second chance.
Hill had to undergo a domestic-abuse evaluation, an anger-management course and a year-long batterer’s program as part of his sentence. “The counseling was a big part of it,” Reid said, when asked what his wife thought of the draft pick he replied “Is he willing to go and do that? That step is huge. To actually admit that you were wrong. A lot of people won’t do that, they just won’t go there. Then on top of that, to try to fix yourself and make it right. To her, those were valuable, valuable steps.”
It seems that Andy Reid’s wife, Tammy, was also consulted on the draft pick, due to her charity work with domestic abuse victims. Not only that but Reid himself spoke of his own personal experiences from his charity work, Reid said: “I’m not much on the crystal ball and looking into the future. We do enough homework where we feel that he’s headed in the right direction and deserves a second chance. Listen, I understand the situation. I’ve been involved with it for a number of years with my wife and our charity. I’ve seen different situations and I’m not here to judge. I am not the Almighty, I’m not saying that at all, by any means. But from what we gathered, and we tried to be as thorough as we could with it, we felt that he deserved an opportunity …. look, I completely understand. I’m sensitive to the situation. I get it. I’ve talked to women on the other side of this, on the receiving side. So I’m very sensitive to that. A lot of guys don’t try to right the wrong. I give the kid credit for doing that and he’s really working hard at that. I completely understand the other side.”
Andy Reid has been coaching for *cough* a number of years shall we say, his experiences as a coach to various players and their troubles has given him the knowledge and understanding of when a player is remorseful and when that show of remorse is genuine. The first player that springs to mind is Michael Vick. Vick was given a second chance by Reid at the Philadelphia Eagles after he was arrested for dog fighting. Reid saw a difference in Vick after he had served his prison sentence. Vick began to right the wrong of what he did by working towards raising awareness for anti-dogfighting charities, which still goes on today and is seen as a huge positive to raise awareness.
There is a huge opportunity for Hill to do the same and raise awareness of domestic violence, but to do that, Hill has had to come to terms with what he did and admit he did wrong. The Chiefs have seen this and have been impressed with how Hill is working hard to change what he did, into a positive.
In his first week of Chiefs training camp, the media swarmed around Hill to ask him about the uproar he was facing from some Chiefs fans, Hill said “Those guys, those fans, they have every right to be mad at me because I did something wrong and I just let my emotions get the best of me and I shouldn’t have done it … They have every right to be mad. But guess what? I’m going to come back and be a better man, be a better citizen and everything will just take care of itself and let God do the rest.”
Hill still supports his son and ex-girlfriend financially and has never tried to walk away from his responsibilities.
Moving forward, Hill has exploded into the NFL in his rookie season, and is seen as one of the biggest threats on an already talented Chiefs roster. Hill’s rise to stardom has been as fast as his feet, and after hearing the chants of “TYREEK, TYREEK, TYREEK…” in Week 14 from the Chiefs fans before his punt return against the Raiders, shows that fans are already finding forgiveness in their hearts for a player that is not only making a difference on the field, but more importantly, off it.