The NFL and the players union have reviewed the audiotape, on which Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill and his fiancée discuss injuries to their child, that a TV station aired last week, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
The league has historically declined to use the Commissioner’s Exempt List in the offseason but is considering making an exception in this case, likely as early as this week, because Hill is in the middle of an ongoing criminal investigation. The designation is a way to keep a player off the field while the league reviews a charge or allegation and reaches a conclusion on discipline, and the league usually waits until the legal system concludes its process, which was just reopened last week in Kansas City after prosecutors received the audio from a local TV station.
The exemption usually works as a suspension with pay, but because players aren’t paid in the offseason, that doesn’t apply in this case. While on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, Hill would be prohibited by the NFL from taking part in practices and other team activities.
Hill has been suspended from all team-related activities in the wake of the audio that surfaced Wednesday in which he discusses abusing his son. Hill also told his fiancée, Crystal Espinal, that she should be “terrified” of him during an 11-minute discussion that took place in a Dubai airport.
The audio surfaced one day after prosecutors declined to press charges against Hill following a domestic violence investigation. They said at the time that they were convinced a crime had occurred but were unable to determine whether it was Hill or Espinal who hurt their son.
The prosecutor, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, reopened the case on Friday after receiving the audio file from KCTV in Kansas City.
Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said Saturday that the team is conducting its own internal investigation, though it’s unclear how much information the Johnson County District Attorney’s office will make available.
There was speculation that the Chiefs could release Hill once this weekend’s NFL draft was over, but Hunt declined to discuss those internal deliberations. He said Saturday that “there are a couple of ongoing investigations relating to Tyreek, and we’re going to have to let that process play out.”
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