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NFL will not punish Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill over child abuse allegations after investigation

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Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill won’t face NFL discipline over allegations of child abuse after a four-month investigation found that “based on the evidence presently available,” Hill did not violate the league’s personal conduct policy.

Minutes after the NFL announced Friday it had concluded its investigation, the Chiefs said in a statement they “have decided it is appropriate for Tyreek to return to the team at the start of training camp.” The Chiefs open training camp July 27.

​”The club fully supports the conditions for return laid out by the league and will continue to monitor any new developments in the case,” the Chiefs’ statement read. 

Those guidelines include “conditions set forth by the District Court, Commissioner (Roger) Goodell, and the Chiefs, which include clinical evaluation and therapeutic intervention,” according to the NFL’s statement.  

The Chiefs suspended Hill – barring him from team activities and their training facility – on April 25 after excerpts from a conversation between Hill and his then-fiancée, Crystal Espinal, at a Dubai airport earlier this year were made public. In that initial clip played by KCTV5-TV in Kansas City, Espinal accused Hill of breaking the arm of their 3-year-old son.

NFL investigators interviewed Hill for more than eight hours, including follow-up questions as the inquiry progressed, a person with knowledge of the investigation told USA TODAY Sports. The person was granted anonymity because details of the investigation were not made public. 

Espinal declined multiple requests to talk to league investigators. The investigation was further hampered by the fact the alleged victim is a minor, which means police and court records are confidential. 

“Local law enforcement authorities have publicly advised that the available evidence does not permit them to determine who caused the child’s injuries,” the NFL said in its statement. 

League investigators interviewed family members of both Hill and Espinal. 

Johnson County district attorney Stephen M. Howe said in a statement in April that prosecutors “believe that a crime has occurred, but the evidence in this case does not conclusively establish who committed the crime against this child.”

“Criminal cases must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by admissible evidence, not speculation, rumor or hearsay,” Howe said in the statement. 

The initial audio clip of Hill and Espinal led Overland Park, Kansas, police to re-open its investigation into Hill. The investigation has since been closed, although Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) spokesperson Mike Deines told USA TODAY Sports in an email Friday that DCF’s investigation of Hill and Espinal “remains ongoing.”

The NFL has had the full audio of the conversation between Hill and Espinal – which spanned more than 11 minutes – since April.  

Hill said in a tweet Friday that the last few months “have been very difficult for me, especially as a father.” In addition to thanking his family and fans, he thanked the NFL and Goodell.

“I am grateful for so many things and grateful for so many people who have supported me during this challenging time,” Hill said. “I fully respect and accept the NFL’s decision.”

Earlier this month, KCSP-AM broadcast what appeared to be the full conversation where Hill denied abusing his son, as well as Espinal. Hill pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery after allegedly choking Espinal while he was in college, which led to his dismissal from the Oklahoma State football team in 2014.

Those convictions were removed from his record after he successfully completed a three-year probationary period last August. 

“I didn’t touch you in 2014,” Hill said in the recording. “I would put that on everything I love, bro. That’s the real truth.”

“Then where did the bruises come from, Tyreek?” Espinal responded.

“Did I hit you, though?” Hill continued, after a brief exchange. “Tell the truth.”

USA TODAY Sports was unable to independently authenticate the audio. 

In the initial audio released in April, the conversation included the following: 

“I didn’t do nothing,” Hill said. “That’s sad. That’s sad, bro.”

“Then why does he say ‘Daddy did it’? Why?” Espinal responds.

“He says Daddy does a lot of things,” Hill said.

“A 3-year-old is not going to lie about what happened to his arm,” Espinal said. 

Deines, the spokesperson for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, declined to release details related to interactions with NFL investigators. 

“DCF does not comment on any aspect of a case, including who we may have talked with during the course of an investigation,” Deines said.

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