An audio recording of a conversation between Tyreek Hill and his fiancee Crystal Espinal details Espinal telling Hill that their 3-year-old son told investigators that “Daddy punches me.”
Wednesday, the Johnson County, Kansas, District Attorney declined to press criminal charges against Hill and Espinal after a child abuse investigation. The audio recording was taken by Espinal while the couple was in an airport in Dubai earlier this year and was obtained by KCTV 5 in Kansas City.
According to the DA, Hill’s son had been injured and investigators believed that a crime had taken place. However, “the evidence in this case does not conclusively establish who committed the crime against this child.”
In the recording, Espinal said she “rode” for Hill when talking to investigators in March. Officers had been called to the couple’s home on March 14.
“And now somehow this investigation got brought back up, and you’re about to lose your s—,” she said on the recording. “So now I really want you to sit and think about it because I rode for you against that detective and the CPS people. And they said time and time again that [child’s name] literally, [child’s name] 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. And then if he gets in trouble you get the belt out.”
Hill responds: “OK, so what about you, what you gonna do?” He starts another sentence before she starts talking again.
“I told them that he gets whooped,” Espinal said. “I told them that he gets whooped, but I don’t use a belt. Which is totally different.”
Hill replied: “You do use a belt. That’s sad. Even my mama says you use a belt.”
In another portion of the recording, Hill says he “didn’t do nothing.”
Per the station, the 11-minute recording was taken by Espinal as an “insurance policy” and has been “passed around.” District attorney Steve Howe said Wednesday that the case could be reopened if new evidence emerged. KCTV 5 said Howe’s office is currently “reviewing” the audio.
One key thing to remember, here: the JoCo DA said yesterday that he could potentially reopen the case with more evidence.
With @KCTV5 saying the JoCo DA has possession if the tape, this is something to keep an eye on.
— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) April 25, 2019
‘Why does he say ‘Daddy did it?’’
In another portion of the tape played by KCTV 5, Hill says both Espinal and the child should be afraid of him. It also details a conversation the two had about Hill’s discipline of the child. In that part of the conversation, the child is upstairs with Espinal and is crying and does not want to go back downstairs to see Hill but reluctantly does after he was urged to by Espinal.
“And then he kept crying because he was scared,” Espinal said. “He was terrified. And what, you grabbed on to him somehow, or he fell? One of the two.”
Hill responds “I didn’t do nothing. That’s sad bro, that is really sad.”
“Then why does [child] say ‘Daddy did it?’ Why? Why does [child] say ‘Daddy did it?’”
Hill then said he didn’t know.
“I don’t know. He says daddy does a lot of things,” he replied.
Goodell: ‘You should wait and get the facts’
Even though Hill has not been currently charged with any crime, he could still face punishment from the NFL for violating the league’s conduct policy. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about Hill’s status on ESPN’s draft show Thursday evening.
“You should wait and get the facts, that’s the first thing you should do,” Goodell said to ESPN’s Samantha Ponder. “They don’t have any information they’re willing to share with us. When you get the facts, then you make a decision about how it fits in our personal conduct policy. But you don’t rush to judgment and you don’t make a decision without having those facts.”
ESPN noted that the conversation with Goodell happened before the audio was released.
Running back Adrian Peterson was suspended for the 2014 season by the NFL after he was indicted on child abuse charges regarding a disciplinary incident with his then-4-year-old son where he used a switch. Peterson accepted a plea deal in the case and fought the NFL’s suspension, which was upheld in court.
In the suspension letter, Goodell said the switch was the equivalent of a weapon in Peterson’s hands and also noted the running back’s lack of remorse in communication with the child’s mother.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.