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NFL Draft: Why Tyreek Hill has a chance to play pro football

We have become a show-don't-tell society.

It isn't enough to describe something you saw; people want visual evidence.  Cute puppy? Horrible car accident? Some dude painted purple streaking through the streets of downtown?

Video or it didn't happen, right?

That's sure the case when it comes to domestic violence, a fact we were reminded of this weekend.

Saturday, just five hours or so north on I-35, the Kansas City Chiefs decided to pick Tyreek Hill in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. The speedster, you no doubt remember, was dismissed from the Oklahoma State football team less than two years ago. He then plead guilty to punching and choking his pregnant girlfriend. But what you may not remember are the details of the incident.

The woman walked into the emergency room at Stillwater Regional concerned about the well-being of her unborn child because she had been punched in the stomach by Hill. Upon examination, medical personnel discovered bruises and cuts on the woman's face and neck.

She told police that Hill, in addition to punching her stomach, had punched her in the face multiple times. Had put both of his hands around her neck. Had slammed her head against a wall. Had thrown her to the ground.

Before you go on, please go back and read her description again. Try to picture in your head how it must have looked.

Do you see a muscular football player punching a woman in the face?

Do you see him punching her in the belly?

Do you see him putting his hands around her neck?

It's difficult, I know. And that makes it easy to gloss over the details, to not think about the expression on the woman's face when Hill punched her in the belly, to not consider the panic that must've been in her eyes when she was being choked.

But I guarantee, if there had been video of that incident, Tyreek Hill would not be in the NFL today. 

No team would've taken a chance on him, no matter how fast he is. No team would've jeopardized the backlash that would've surely come from fans and foes alike, no matter how many punts or kickoffs Hill might be able to return.

As it was, many Chiefs fans took to social media (and I'm sure the team's main switchboard) to express their disgust with Hill's inclusion in Kansas City's draft class. 

At least one columnist in Kansas City, Sam Mellinger, came down hard on the Chiefs, too, mentioning that the franchise is one that espouses how much it values character. It trumpets the likes of Eric Berry and Derrick Johnson. It says it has turned the corner in recent seasons, in part, because of character guys.

And yet, the Chiefs drafted an admitted abuser.

"It is never OK for a man to hit a defenseless woman. Not legally, not morally," Mellinger wrote. "That is the act of a coward, not a man, and there are far too many women who lose their basic human rights or worse at the hands of males who can’t control themselves."

He went on to write, "Look, nobody should be judged entirely on their worst moment. People deserve second chances, and Hill has apparently been forthcoming about his mistakes, and stayed out of trouble after landing at Division II West Alabama.

"But there have to be certain lines that can’t be crossed, certain sins that can’t be forgiven, and certain acts of violence on defenseless women that can’t be forgotten."

Except when there's no video.

Visual proof changes so much in our society. Just look at the difference between Ray Rice and Greg Hardy. What both players did to their significant others was horrendous. One, you likely know well because we've all seen the Ray Rice elevator video. The other, you may not know any details because Greg Hardy throwing his girlfriend against walls, into a bathtub and onto a couch full of guns isn't on video anywhere. Rice never got another chance to play in the NFL. Hardy did.

And so does Hill. 

If there would've been video on the Hill incident, he wouldn't have been drafted. But since there's not, the Chiefs took him, though you can rest assure if they wouldn't have done it, some other team would've. After all, the video that they do have of Hill returning kicks and punts is pretty spectacular.

Related Photos
<p>Oklahoma State's Tyreek Hill (24) carries the ball during a college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. Baylor won, 49-28. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</p>

Oklahoma State's Tyreek Hill (24) carries the ball during a college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. Baylor won, 49-28. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-c63fbb22ed051834696ef3aca73aafe2.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State's Tyreek Hill (24) carries the ball during a college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. Baylor won, 49-28. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman " title=" Oklahoma State's Tyreek Hill (24) carries the ball during a college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. Baylor won, 49-28. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman "><figcaption> Oklahoma State's Tyreek Hill (24) carries the ball during a college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. Baylor won, 49-28. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure>
Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›

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