Days after the NFL declined to punish Tyreek Hill, a report has shed light on why the NFL had trouble getting its hands on legal documentation to make its case.
On Friday, the NFL announced that it would not suspend the Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver over allegations of child abuse involving his ex-fiancée Crystal Espinal and their young son.
In a statement, the league announced that it had conducted a “comprehensive investigation,” and could not conclude that Hill violated the league’s personal conduct policy.
NFL: Court sealed records
The statement read that “information developed in the court proceeding is confidential and has not been shared with us, and the court has sealed all law enforcement records.”
In, short, the league didn’t exonerate Hill, but stated that it didn’t have enough evidence to warrant a suspension.
The decision echoed that of the Johnson County legal system, whose prosecutor’s office declined in April to press charges against either Hill or Espinal despite the fact that district attorney Steve Howe said that he believed a crime had been committed against the couple’s three-year-old son who had suffered a broken arm.
Report: DA denied NFL’s information request
According to a report from USA Today’s A.J. Perez on Monday, the NFL requested information on the case from the district attorney’s office on the same day that Howe announced that charges would not be pressed.
That request was made by NFL security representative Dirk Taitt, according to the report.
From the report:
Taitt cited the end of the case as he requested police records, witness statements, “photographs and video recordings depicting either the alleged victim’s or the alleged perpetrator’s physical condition” and other information on the alleged incident that left the 3-year-old son of Hill and Crystal Espinal with a broken arm.
Report: DA cited open records act
Howe denied the NFL’s request, according to the report, explaining that his office is not obligated to share that information, citing Kansas’ Open Records Act.
From the report:
Howe wrote in his April 25 response that the request for “medical records of a patient and, as such, they are not required to be disclosed” and “criminal investigation records and, as such, they are not required to be disclosed.”
The report doesn’t fully explain why the NFL, which has a lower threshold for punishment than the law and has handed out suspensions without such documentation in the past, declined to suspend Hill.
But it does clear up the league’s statement on law enforcement records being sealed.
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