Tyreek Hill and the NFL Fan’s Moral Dilemma

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This is an editorial by Anthony Stratton and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Guys.

It wasn’t long ago, before the dawn of social media and NFL Network, that the average NFL fan could watch their favorite team win blissfully unaware of the rape, assault, drug and even murder charges previously brought up against the players helping said team win games. Sure they were reported by the local paper and ESPN, but this was before the NFL entered the 24 hour news cycle. The most rabid of fans like myself who were deeply entrenched in the early message boards of the Star knew and discussed these things, but many fans didn’t. To this day I still run across people who don’t know that Jared Allen’s draft stock fell due to alcohol issues and that his eventual trade was not just because King Carl was too cheap to pay him, but because after multiple DUI’s he was up against a lengthy suspension if he repeated his actions.

The landscape of the NFL has changed drastically over the last 20 years. With the advent of social media, NFL Network, 382 ESPN channels, countless online news sources and fan blogs…and oh yeah, TMZ. The average NFL fan has transformed from someone who turned on the TV for nine hours on Sunday and three on Monday to one who consumes the NFL every waking moment on multiple platforms. Today’s fan demands a constant supply of information and when news breaks, whether good or bad, it travels travels fast. Players can’t even go to dinner without their tips being dissected by the public eye and the NFL has found itself trying to keep up with an ever-changing kaleidoscope of infractions and injustices that in years past they would have been content to sweep under the rug.

But not in today’s society of instant reaction and outrage.

Its hard to believe that Ray Rice was actually the first NFL player to ever punch a woman and that Adrian Peterson is the first to physically abuse his child. Yet oddly enough, at the time they both happened, the NFL did not have a documented discipline policy for them. Its hard to imagine that in 90-some years of existence no NFL team has ever became aware that one of their players assaulted a woman or child, and thus didn’t have a need for a structured disciplinary plan. I imagine there have been plenty of players who would have previously fallen into such a protocol, however without the outrage of the consumer, the NFL just never needed one.

The Tyreek Hill situation has brought out every range of emotions in Chiefs fans. Disgust, forgiveness, outrage, repentance, disdain, hope, etc, etc. If Tyreek has done the things he’s accused of, I want him to be kicked off the team immediately!

Or do I?

And thus, the moral dilemma. How does the fan balance personal feelings about a player’s actions off the field with their desire to see their favorite team win a championship? I’ve seen all the cliches:

“You can’t win in the NFL with 53 alter boys!”

This is definitely true, and more often than not we’d like to see “a little nasty” in our players. But where do we draw the line?

“These players are community figures and should be held to a higher standard!”

Also true, as those with high profile positions in any line of work represent the company they work for and are likely to be judged more harshly in the court of public opinion.

But like many things, I suspect many of us fall somewhere in the middle; seeing both sides but not really knowing which end of the spectrum we truly relate to. While we deplore the things he’s allegedly done, we also recognize he is immensely talented and critical to the Chiefs’ success in the 2019 season. Only confounding the issue is the saga of Kareem Hunt, who fans almost unanimously wanted cut from the team. Even those who didn’t find his act egregious still understood that he had betrayed the team’s trust and had to be let go.

That lasted right up until the time John Dorsey and the Cleveland Browns signed him and his suspension was officially announced. Chiefs fans are understandably set aback by the media’s respect for the Browns giving Hunt another chance, while being out a Pro Bowl running back. It is reasonable to now look at Hill and not want the team to cut him just so he can continue on his career elsewhere for another team. However, it also hard to imagine the team being in a position to commit a long term contract to Hill, in fear future incidents could leave them stuck with the Pro Bowler’s cap hit, but no Pro Bowler.

So what is a fan to do? It feels dirty not to publicly demand his release, but at the same time I have no desire to see him play for another team. Perhaps there is only thing left to do, in the face of the modern NFL fans’ moral dilemma, resolve yourself to wait for whatever happens, and accept it knowing that nothing you say or do is going to change the outcome. At the end of the day I am going to be rooting for the Chiefs in 2019.

It remains to be seen if I’ll be rooting for Tyreek.

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dablueguy
dablueguy

Great article. It’s actually pretty easy for me. I don’t care what these guys do off the field, never have. I took tons of flack on Chief sites for years about rooting for LJ, even if he was a crap human being off the field. I only cared about him as a player. If they are legally allowed to play, by the law and the NFL, I want the best football players for the Chiefs, period. I will never have any of them in my life as a friend. They aren’t setting policy for my City, State, Country. They are Football players, and I want the best ones on my team.
It’s a bonus if they are good or great human beings, but if I had to choose what’s most important, it’s their football playing ability

Lars
Lars

Again the Constitution of these United States protects each and everyone of us from presumption of guilt. He hasn’t even been charged with anything and people all but want to burn him at the stake! I’d encourage everybody to let the story play out before throwing the guy off the cliff. Until he is charged with something and found guilty of anything, The absolute law of our country says he’s innocent!

MasterChief
MasterChief

I’ve been saying that over and over. Some people just don’t care. They’ve made up their minds and they are not changing no matter what. If Tyreek were to be totally exonerated of these charges (which haven’t even been filed), some of these people will still hate him.

Leaf
Leaf

They hated him when we drafted him. This just gave them a justification to soap box “I told you so”s

probablyamistake
probablyamistake

Oh….OJ is innocent then? Got it.

Leaf
Leaf

I never said that. I’ve always been in the side of wait until we have all the info before condemning. But if the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.

Team Player
Team Player

So being hung like a horse would mean I don’t have to pay child support?

Alas. More of a hamster.

upamtn

Excellent work, Tony … me, I’m onthe”higher standards” side, but I understand the other side’s opinion

venturachief
venturachief

Great write-up. It distills my feelings perfectly. If they keep Tyreek I won’t boo, but I will also not be part of the TY-REEK chant.

BleedingRedAndGold

Warm up the downvotes, folks, because BRAG’s going to weigh in with something unpopular. What I mean is that lost in the shuffle is a deeply-embedded trope in society: In domestic abuse situations, the male is the abuser and the female is the victim until overwhelmingly proven otherwise. This IMO applies to the Hill scandal, especially with the release of the audio that Espinal secretly recorded of an argument. From what I heard of it, she sounded like she was trying to provoke responses, and from the tone, it wasn’t the first time, or even the fifty-first. She may be Hill’s victim, but Hill, IMO is her victim, too.

But that’s the thing with this narrative. It ignores verbal/psychological abuse that can be just as damaging as the physical abuse. The initial DV by Hill was not right – but why did it happen? Did he just punch her out of the blue, for no reason? Back when we drafted him, there was little reason to think that it was anything other than a massive over-reaction to an argument on Hill’s part, but consider the recording made partially public. She was using words like weapons, and she had an agenda. Now there is something to go on for the original DV case, and it doesn’t take much thinking to conclude that she provoked that punch in some way, just as she was provoking Hill at that airport. Victim she may be, but IMO she’s also an abuser in the relationship. The gender narrative should not give her a free pass any more than Hill should get one. They need to separate and get individual help, and fast.

Team Player
Team Player

See below. They’re in counseling.

Here’s hoping the counselor is the right person for the situation

BleedingRedAndGold

Holy cow, are we in synch. See below, lol.

Slayer0810
Slayer0810

They have what I would call a toxic relationship, for sure. I’m hesitant to start calling verbal insults and provocation “abuse”, because our society has already gone overboard in trying to restrict free speech in the name of protecting people/feelings.

But I agree with you in that women can be just as abusive as men. We generally excuse it in society because the degree to which women inflict physical harm is usually less. But just because it might not seriously injure a man to have his girlfriend/wife beat on him doesn’t make it right or less abusive.

None of this excuses Tyreek’s part in the relationship. But it certainly is naive to pretend like he’s the only problem.

BleedingRedAndGold

Full disclosure: I have a dog in that fight, because I am slowly coming to realize that the way I was growing up was abusive. I was spanked, sure, and above and beyond the point where it served any useful purpose. But that wasn’t the truly abusive part. In fact, I’d be hard-pressed to provide any stories about incidents that would read to others that I waxs even “verbally abused”. But I still payed a terrible price for my parents’ mistakes.

That’s a long, long story to tell, so I won’t – but keep this in mind: It was so subtle that it took /me/ over four decades to realize that I was abused. There was never anything substantial to point to, and I spent those 40+ years excusing them for their mistakes because of that. But they were still abusive toward me. I know that now, because of the price I paid for their treatment of me. Something to consider when psychological abuse might be in play.

Team Player
Team Player
BleedingRedAndGold

For the record, I didn’t read this until after I posted my comment at 12:14.

Team Player
Team Player

What record? Is someone keeping tabs on this? 👀

zulu trader
zulu trader

i am

BleedingRedAndGold

I made that comment because the letter from Hill’s lawyers line up eerily well with things that I have been saying, including my 12:14 comment. It was a general statement, not directed at you, so “for the record” was intended to indicate its generality. HTH.

venturachief
venturachief

It’s about time. If he’s “innocent” he needs to start defending himself. Otherwise, just go away. And I use “innocent” loosely. He’s a POS but maybe he should be able to continue playing football.

BleedingRedAndGold

I’m going to add that Hill’s counsel is bound by law to be truthful about the assertions they make in certain situations. Since this is a legal matter, I’m confident that what they are saying about the evidence they have is correct, as lying to the NFL about it could open their firm up to direct repercussions.

Leaf
Leaf

Something I find interesting in this is that they said that in audio of the conversation she alludes to the fact their son might have been injured while playing rough. I don’t recall seeing that angle used by the star of any other media outlet. Wonder why?

stjoechief

Unless and until the league imposes penalties for teams signing players recently cut due to violent off the field behavior and compensation for teams that cut such players it makes no business sense for the Chiefs to cut Hill. The situation was somewhat different with Hunt because he lied to the team. See what the investigation shows and what penalty Goodell imposes.

Another consideration is that as long as Hill is associated with the team they can provide access to counseling and support services that he might not be able to get otherwise. If they cut him, well, no company expends resources on people they’ve fired.

Slayer0810
Slayer0810

If Tyreek has done the things he’s accused of, I want him to be kicked off the team immediately!

Or do I?

The thing is, with a few exceptions for some of the more morally questionable Chiefs fans, I think this answer is an unqualified “Yes!”. But the key here is If…has done. And we don’t know yet (and may never know) if he’s actually done those things.

If he has, I don’t want him anywhere near my favorite football team, even if he can help us win a Superbowl.

But if he hasn’t actually done what he’s been accused of, for the sake of justice (innocent until proven guilty is a principle that should apply much more broadly than just in the legal sense for an advanced society), for the sake of Hill’s career (because if he’s innocent, he doesn’t deserve to lose the means to support himself in the future), and for the sake of the Chiefs (because what Chiefs fan doesn’t want to celebrate multiple Superbowl wins in the next decade), I don’t want him kicked off the team.

I guess I just don’t see it as an issue of us waffling as much as wanting to be sure we have all the information before condemning someone.

tsv0728
tsv0728

The Chiefs and to some degree the fan base, are mostly accused of waffling because of recent history. Too many bad situations involving abuse of late. Not the least of which is signing an arrested and convicted (though he plead to disorderly) abuser, the same day they suspended Reek from the team. There isn’t as much, and probably shouldn’t be, leniency.

Leaf
Leaf

Clark was not convicted. He was arrested and charged, but not convicted.

tsv0728
tsv0728

Everything I’ve read says he plead down and was convicted to (the nature of reaching a plea agreement) disorderly conduct.

satxchiefs
satxchiefs

Chiefs should wait to see what happens in legal and nfl disciple system first. Players union will get involved. NFl has precedent of another team signing abusive player to new contract with former team receiving no compensation but a cap penalty. Kareem Hunt was signed by Browns, Adrian Peterson signed by Saints and Reuben Foster signed by Washington.

If Hill get 8 game suspension, Chiefs can wait to activate till near end of season. Never play a game for Chiefs and become free agent. Let the FA bidding war start and Chiefs collect compensatory pick in two years. He might be rehabilitated enough to a Chief player after all. Supervised parental visits until he can control his temper.

His girl fiend just lost $20M for her kids by releasing the audiotape. If she keep quite Hill would sign big extension, maybe 45M guaranteed. That money is now off table.

tsv0728
tsv0728

This sounds like the best decision if the NFL doesn’t act. On the other hand, does the NFL really need to protect the team, when the whole reason he dropped in the draft was a history of DV. It is a bit of a reap what you sow situation, so maybe the Chiefs deserve to be forced (by the public) to cut him with no hope of compensation.

zulu trader
zulu trader

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

zulu trader
zulu trader

I love all you f**kin’ homers. If I didn’t have you guys to keep me amused, I would be bored to death

BleedingRedAndGold

Not necessarily homers. It’s quite possible that the 2 DVs I saw were the product of knee-jerk reactions, whether moralistic or taking an overly limited view of your comment. But money indeed drives the overall system here. Not just the Chiefs Inc., or even the NFL overall, though. One mustn’t forget the media in general, over and above sports media. They want to make money, too, and aren’t very fussy about how they go about that.

Consider their behavior beginning with the Kareem Hunt scandal going public. Hunt and the Chiefs were universally condemned over that, and they led the outcry that Hunt must be cut, and cut he was, to the team’s detriment. Then they moved on, without giving KC a shred of praise or credit for “doing the right thing”. Then a newspaper slapped together a story on Hill, one that not only was sloppy and designed to garner outrage by implications, but conveniently filled a slow spot in NFL news. The public was neither informed nor enlightened by its confusing, haphazard content, but boy was everyone outraged. (Cont’d)

BleedingRedAndGold

And once it was clear that there would be no immediate follow-up, the public was left to the narrative, which became embedded in the thought processes and thus became almost impossible to alter. Slowly dribs and drabs of information came out, a bit at a time, which did nothing to inform or educate, let alone alter the narrative. Meanwhile, Hunt was picked up by the Browns for a song, and the initial silence over that became praise – for the Browns, not the Chiefs. The moral outrage of the past was gone, forgotten in the latest scandal. Now the media apparently wants to repeat the same cycle, to the detriment of the Chiefs once again.

And to cap it all off, a TV station which missed out on the scandal’s “clicks” goes and makes public Mahomes’ home address. It wasn’t newsworthy, there was no public need to know, it was merely done to make $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. And I’ll leave it at that, because the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ saga of the NFL would take a book to cover. With sequels. So have a couple upvotes, because you ain’t wrong.

Leaf
Leaf

But money indeed drives the overall system here. Not just the Chiefs Inc., or even the NFL overall, though.

Welcome to capitalist America. Money is the only thing anyone gives a shit about.

zulu trader
zulu trader

I mean . . . what else is there?

Team Player
Team Player

People?

Team Player
Team Player

Sustainable environment?

Team Player
Team Player

Health?

zulu trader
zulu trader

GOD? FAMILY? COUNTRY?

zulu trader
zulu trader

beer?

BleedingRedAndGold

Beer is good, and it’s older than currency, as well.

Slayer0810
Slayer0810

Everyone knows that America is ruled by money, sex, and food. You have all three, and you can basically rule the world.

zulu trader
zulu trader

I particularly like the middle one

Team Player
Team Player

The sands are the heart of Rome.

You forgot football.

venturachief
venturachief

oh boy. Viva la Venezuela!

legal_kush
legal_kush

I am a Chiefs fan.
Tyreek will either be a Chief or not. It really is that simple.

I don’t know of a single Chiefs fan that was not aware of Jared Allen’s off-field issues, but maybe there are more “casual” fans in KC than there are around here, since there’s only about 10 of us in this town. When he was stupidly shipped off to Minnesota, I told every Viking fan that asked about him that they got a great player and would enjoy watching him. His first presser in Minnesota, he referred to the dysfunction under King Carl. I live in a small town. Maybe you big city boys just have too much other shit to pay attention to.

Go Chiefs!

Sudden
Sudden

The Allen trade netted Branden Albert and Jamaal Charles so I couldn’t exactly call it a stupid trade

legal_kush
legal_kush

Yeah, I can have the opinion he was dealt stupidly regardless of derived benefits at a later date. Dude was fun to watch. Loved him as a Chief.

Leaf
Leaf

comment image

4thQtrMagic
4thQtrMagic

I will be rooting for Tyreek to get his act together. I wish him happiness and the desire to be a better stronger man.

On one hand I think the system should decide his fate with his family and career, on the other he has blown his second chance. This is not my preferred way to win a lombardi.

Slayer0810
Slayer0810

he has blown his second chance

Assuming he actually did what he’s being accused of.

Being a jerk =/= blowing his second chance. And we know he’s that.

Abusing his partner/child == blowing his second chance. But we don’t know that he’s done that.

tsv0728
tsv0728

He doesn’t get the same benefit of the doubt that a person without his history would (IMO of course). If I heard a tape of you saying the things he did, I might assume there were extenuating circumstances that suggested we wait for all the facts. Reek has a history that includes beating up a pregnant chick. The audio was just icing on the confirmation cake for me. He is now a serial abuser in my mind, and I don’t want him on the team.

Slayer0810
Slayer0810

I just don’t see any hard evidence that the recidivism rate for domestic violence offenders is any larger than the first-time offender rate (both between 25-35% from the studies I’ve seen). And it’s a horrible thing no matter whether it’s the first time or the 100th time that someone has abused their partner or child. So I just don’t see how someone’s history should lower the bar from “innocent until proven guilty” to “guilty until (or in spite of being) proven innocent”. If he’s guilty, he should be off the team, out of the NFL, and legally responsible for his actions. But if he’s innocent, he shouldn’t have to deal with the slandering and loss of livelihood just because of his past.

Side note: Interestingly enough, I was actually less disturbed by listening to the audio than I was from reading the transcript. He didn’t sound out of control to me in the recording. Still a jerk, but not angry like I was expecting from the transcript.

Leaf
Leaf

That’s one the issues some have with the Star. It was deliberately broken up and displayed to insight maximum outrage. You are right that he still sounds like a jerk, but a jerk isn’t necessarily an abuser. There’s not a single person alive that hasn’t said a jerky thing to someone. This isn’t me saying reek is innocent, but I’m not sure what to make of that conversation because it screams out of context.

Slayer0810
Slayer0810

Yeah, my initial reaction was that I’m glad no one recorded some of my fights with my girlfriend and transcribed them for public consumption. Because I’ve been a real jerk in those situations myself.

I think a wait-and-see approach is still fair, given that we don’t have all the information. And despite the snarky comments otherwise by some sports media members, I’m still not feeling like calling out Brooke Pryor’s poor journalism was unjust. Just because she might (maybe) turn out to have the story right in the end, the way she went about releasing it showed no journalistic integrity.

Team Player
Team Player

Controversy sells.

The Star is bad.

If my suspicions are correct KCTV5 is far worse:
I believe they are tearing him down then building him back up to a sympathetic victim by the start of preseason. Deliberately pacing the releases to build an emotional groundswell of shifting public perception to generate clicks and then game ratings. I hope I’m wrong. But it’s what I’d do if that were my job – then again I refuse to become the person I’d need to be to get that job.

MasterChief
MasterChief

That’s some “Wag the Dog” stuff.

Team Player
Team Player

Yes, yes it is.

BleedingRedAndGold

Except that in light of the letter from his lawyers, it’s questionable that he abused his son at all. His lawyers have a lot of evidence that runs counter to the 90-second audio clip that was released to the public.