Reluctantly Climbing a Rocky Hill....Again
Very unfortunately, one again circumstance has demanded that I weigh in on the latest in the Tyreek Hill saga. Many reports surfaced Monday indicating that the NFL now will conduct multiple interviews with the Chiefs wide receiver regarding his actions over the recent past involving his son and the son’s mother Crystal Espinal.
The facts are well known, although what were perceived as facts have morphed over the time since the first reports surfaced about the three-year-old’s treatment in the home. His arm was broken, which was long thought to be caused by the actions of one of the parents. That has been now established as not being the case, but the result of an accident. Still, however, the child has been removed from the custody of the now estranged couple, he having suffered welts and bruises from “disciplinary” acts by the parents.
Just to review (I am sure ad nauseum). I never would have drafted Hill, and said so loudly at the time. My stance is that people who have been convicted of a crime have the right to earn a living after going through the legal system, but that it doesn’t have to be in the National Football League, and if he does get to play football, it doesn’t have to be in the town that I reside in. But the Chiefs were willing to swallow the criticism, while asking us to swallow their message to “trust them”.
Given that second chance, Hill spent three years while under the shadow of probation to do all of the things required of him, one of which was play great football. Seemingly as soon as the probation was up, with the constrictions lifted, Hill started making decisions which now should lead to him not playing for the Chiefs. That is my opinion, but seemingly isn’t shared by very many, and it appears more and more likely that Hill will play after some sort of what I will view as lenient punishment.
Perhaps the biggest reason for my thoughts, is that once again, many, including the Chiefs, seem to think that this is now over. There very likely won’t be legal action, the couple is now not together, and after some kind of NFL suspension, Hill will hit the field. But the wait for Child Services to make some kind of ruling goes on, and the fact remains that three children will have some shared relationship with Hill and Espinal, and some interaction between the two will remain a volatile reality.
Apparently, the Chiefs are past the point of shame here, and are fully willing to let this ticking time bomb linger within the franchise. I continue to find it hard to believe that they are willing to take the risk that yet another problem is lurking down the road. And, for now, the reason why is the fact that a seemingly large part of the fan base is OK with this. No charges, no problem, just keep cheeta-ing down the field for us. To me it’s shameful. I would (maybe I wouldn’t) want to have someone explain to me what their motivation is here. What barrier would have to crossed for a fan to NOT want to have a player on the team.
I think one certain truism is that the quality of the player is the key here. I think the morale outrage meter would be infinitely higher if the same behavior and decision making was being made by an offensive guard. But no, it’s an electrifying receiver, one who very likely can’t come close to being replicated.
And, of course, now a big part of the narrative is that Crystal Espinal is craaaaaazy, and is the biggest part of the problem. My answer to this is a big, fat, so what. Even if her behavior is worse than his, and NO ONE really knows that, it doesn’t lessen his transgressions, and furthermore, he is the one who decided to bring the relationship back together, and to impregnate her again, this time with twins.
What in this whole string of events gives anyone the slightest shred of confidence that things could go well going forward, even for months? Once Hill was finished with probation, he had the incentive lying just months away of a gigantic payday, and even that wasn’t enough to keep him anywhere close to the land of straight and narrow.
And now comes the outrage, with motivations left and right not hard to read, when Andy Reid’s name is brought into the picture by Kevin Kietzman of Sportsradio 810 WHB, which has now resulted in his suspension. I have had countless sparring matches with Kevin over the years, but in discussing this issue contextually, I have pointed out (perhaps in a more palatable fashion) the Chiefs head coach’s past issue of tunnel vision on all things football (which is hardly unique in the profession), to the ignorance of many other things. This is far, far, away from blaming a tragic death on a father, a million miles, and is one small point in dozens in trying to piece together actions of an entire franchise, but for those that may have conveniently forgotten the sordid details here they are….
This is, again, in no way connecting dots. It is merely another fact to consider when judging the Chiefs actions, which are intrinsically related to their head coach. Suicide, drug addiction and mental illness are too complicated of issues for dime store psychology. Trying to provide context on a coaches microfocus on football is a completely different matter. Facts are facts, and when you are making a decision on how to feel about the actions of your home town team, you should not feel free to cherry pick which ones you want, or lob emotional red herrings. Well, that is my opinion anyway, a fan is free to do what they want.
I think things are no doubt shaded as well by how close the Chiefs are right now to a goal they haven’t achieved in well over two generations. If they were merely a decent team, with a good, not generational quarterback, again, morality might be closer to ruling the day.
But why should I expect reason in the landscape of our nation in 2019. Facts are quickly dismissed as fake news, conservatives and liberals alike seek no consensus, twitter promotes anonymous bluster amidst what can often be an enjoyable vehicle, and debate, not conversation, rules the day.
I re-visited a blog about being a fan the other day on this site, and every fan has a line they might draw for things that would bother them as they root on.
That line seems to have moved a long way.