Read and React: The NFL's big dilemma

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(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The biggest story heading into NFL training camps in a couple weeks is this mess with Tyreek Hill, and what the hell the NFL is going to do about it.

The quick backstory

There is no quick backstory to this one, but here’s a go at it: Hill had been accused of breaking his 3-year-old’s arm. He denies it (and an investigation cleared him of responsibility); his fiancée says, if not him, then who?, and, well, from there it’s a he-said, she-said caught on a secretly recorded conversation.

The Kansas City Chiefs have suspended Hill indefinitely as an investigation – by the team and the league – continues into potential child abuse.

The NFL’s dilemma

Litigating a domestic dispute based on a secretly recorded conversation – this is the corner Roger Goodell backed himself into when, via the NFL’s “personal conduct policy,” he dragged the league into the business of policing and prosecuting.

In one sense, Goodell deserves credit in that he won’t hide behind a police investigation that doesn’t turn up enough evidence (for whatever reason) to prosecute. Greg Hardy got off legally because the woman he allegedly abused refused to testify, but the NFL, unencumbered by such legal stipulations, suspended him anyway.

But the flip side is this: the NFL is in the business of professional football, not criminal investigations. And in a muddled case like Tyreek Hill’s, in which the police acknowledge a crime occurred but cannot determine who did it, should NFL officials be leveling judgement one way or the other?

No, because they aren’t equipped to. Yes, because, hell, it’s their league and they’ve got an image to protect.

There’s no cut and dried answer here – no easy out for the NFL.

The football side of it

With Hill on the roster, Patrick Mahomes has maybe the only receiver in the NFL who can keep up with his howitzer and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl contenders.

Without him, the Chiefs are a question mark.

This is a massive decision the NFL has to make, one that will not only impact the competitive landscape of the league but the professional future of a 25-year-old who’s just entering his prime.

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