The Kansas City Chiefs have announced that Tyreek Hill has been barred indefinitely from all team activities until more is known about an audio recording that aired on a local TV station in which the star wide receiver’s fiancée accused him of abusing their 3-year-old son.
“We were deeply disturbed by what we heard [on the recorded conversation],” general manager Brett Veach said. “We were deeply concerned. Now, obviously, we have great concern for [fiancée] Crystal [Espinal]. We are greatly concerned for Tyreek. But our main focus, our main concern, is with the young child.”
The recording surfaced one day after Johnson County District Attorney Stephen M. Howe said charges would not be filed after police were called to Hill’s home twice last month and investigators determined the child had been injured. Howe said he believed a crime had occurred, but the evidence didn’t clearly establish who committed it.
Veach read a statement after the conclusion of the first round of the NFL draft that said the team became aware of the recording of Hill and Espinal in “real time” — just like the general public.
Afterward, Veach called Hill’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and informed him that Hill would no longer be allowed to work out with the team. The Chiefs are in the midst of voluntary offseason workouts.
“We are going to continue to gather information and we will make the right decision,” Veach said in his statement.
Veach declined to take any questions. Chiefs coach Andy Reid and chairman Clark Hunt, who also were in the building for the start of the draft, were not made available.
Earlier Thursday evening, KCTV in Kansas City aired part of an 11-minute audio file in which Espinal tells Hill that when asked about an injury to the child’s arm, the boy replied: “Daddy did it.”
Hill denies any role in what happened to the child’s arm, adding: “He says Daddy does a lot of things.”
Espinal then says, “A 3-year-old is not going to lie about what happened to his arm.”
“Daddy did it,” Espinal says, paraphrasing the boy. “He is terrified of you.”
Hill responds, according to the recording: “You need to be terrified of me, too, b—-.”
Later in the recording, Espinal says, “He kept saying ‘Daddy punches me,’ which you do when he starts crying. What do you do? You make him open up his arms, and you punch him in the chest. Then if he gets in trouble, you get the belt out.”
The conversation was recorded as the couple walked through Dubai International Airport, according to KCTV. No date for the conversation was given.
The portion of the recording played on KCTV on Thursday starts with Espinal saying, “We were getting into it, and he said, ‘Daddy, you’re mean.’ So we walked up the stairs. You said, ‘Come back down here,’ and he didn’t want to go down there. But I was like, ‘Go down there because it will end up worse for you.’ So he walked down there and then you were getting on his [deleted]. … Then he started crying, and you were like, ‘Shut up, shut up, stop crying. Shut up, shut up, stop crying.'”
Hill replies, “Right.”
Espinal continues: “Then he kept crying because he was scared. He was terrified, and you grabbed on to him or he fell, one of the two.”
Hill says, “I didn’t do nothing. That’s sad, bro. That’s really sad.”
That’s when Espinal asks Hill why their son said Hill did it.
At another point in the recording, Espinal brings up the investigations by the Overland Park (Kansas) Police Department and the Kansas Department for Children and Families.
“Now, somehow this investigation got brought back up, and you’re about to lose your [deleted],” she says.
“Now, I really want you [to] sit and think about it because I rode for you against that detective and the [DCF] people.”
Espinal then talks about what Hill does when their son starts crying.
Howe was given a copy of the tape and told KCTV that he is reviewing the audio.
Before the recording aired, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN’s Sam Ponder the league was still investigating.
“When you get the facts, then you make a decision about how it fits into our personal conduct policy,” Goodell said. “You don’t make a decision without having those facts.”
ESPN was unable to independently confirm Thursday it was Hill and Espinal on the recording.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.