Tyreek Hill’s commitment to growth should include not holding grudges
Sunday’s eight-minute press conference featuring Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill, his first since events of the past four months nearly derailed his career, included an explanation from Hill that he hopes to show real growth going forward.
“As I was going through this long process, my mom told me, ‘People don’t need to change they need to grow,’” Hill said. “And you think of a tree, a tree changes and a tree grows. Every day, my mom told me that, ‘Reek, you need to grow, you need to add layers to yourself.’ Because if a tree grows, it doesn’t go back. So I want to grow, I don’t want to change. I’m trying to grow each and every day of my life.”
If he means it, today’s opportunity for growth comes from his awkward treatment of Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star. Pryor, along with Steve Vockrodt of the Star, reported in March that the law-enforcement investigation involving Hill arose from an incident during which Hill’s son suffered a broken arm. Subsequent reporting from WHB radio indicated that the broken arm happened accidentally.
During Sunday’s meeting with reporters, Pryor asked Hill a question regarding his communucations with coach Andy Reid since the NFL announced that Hill won’t be disciplined. Hill responded by saying, “What’s your name?”
“Brooke,” she said.
Hill paused. Then, he smirked. He paused again. And then answered the question.
He’s entitled to be unhappy with the criticism he had received, even if his “bad history” (a term he used on Sunday) invited it. But if he’s truly trying to grow as a person, Hill shouldn’t be acting out on grudges or trying to settle scores, especially during his first interaction with the media since the controversy emerged. Today should have been a day for unconditional contrition, and for appreciation of the fact that things could have gone a much different way for Hill -- especially if prosecutors had shared the information in their files with the NFL, and if the NFL had decided that, while there may not be enough evidence to convict Hill in a court of law, there may have been enough to punish him in the Court of Goodell.
“I’m here to man up to what I did,” Hill eventually explained, in reference to his “you need to be terrified of me too, bitch” comment to Crystal Espinal, the mother of his children. “On the audio, my bad language. I’m gonna man up to that. I don’t want nobody talking to my little sister, my daughter that I have now, my mom like that. It’s very disrespectful. And my mom got on to me, like she like thumped me in the ear, ‘C’mon man, Reek. C’mon grow up, grow up out of that.’ So never again. Like I said, I’m growing as a human being, as a person. Never again.”
His commitment to growth and respectful treatment of others would all seem to be a lot more genuine and credible if Hill had simply answered Pryor’s question without asking her name, and without smirking when he realized who she was. And it will make people wonder whether he’s truly committed to growing, or whether he’s simply saying what he thinks he needs to say.