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Miami Dolphin Tyreek Hill’s past off-field issues don’t mean he is guilty in the latest | Opinion

You don’t know if Tyreek Hill is guilty of this.

Neither do I.

Chances are, even the accused himself might be nonplussed, considering the alleged incident happened last summer, almost a year ago, and that no criminal charge was sought or brought at the time. It suddenly became “news” this week because the alleged victim filed a lawsuit seeking up to $75,000 in damages.

The headline on the Miami Herald news story: Dolphins star Tyreek Hill ‘violently’ charged at model — breaking her leg, lawsuit says.

Perfectly accurate headline, but also one that might tempt readers to engage in the great American sport called Jumping to Conclusions. The use of “violently“ (the word offered by the lawyer for the accuser) is especially incendiary, because it suggests Hill not only caused the injury but maybe meant to.

We can’t know yet if the allegation is true. Could be, might not be, or perhaps the truth is some shade of gray in between.

But we never want to wait to see. We would rather prejudge and assume.

What’s obvious here is that Hill is an easy target. He is rich and he is famous and he has a less than perfect past, the kind that follows you like a shadow forever and ever.

READ MORE: Dolphins star Tyreek Hill ‘violently’ charged at model — and broke her leg, lawsuit says

In 2014 Hill was dismissed from Oklahoma State’s football team involving an assault of his 20-year-old pregnant girlfriend. He pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery and was sentenced to three years’ probation and an anger-management class. The two stayed together and had three kids together but no longer are a couple.

Five years later one of those kids broke an arm and Hill was accused and investigated, though no charges or NFL discipline resulted.

Last year Hill was investigated for allegedly assaulting a male employee of Haulover Marine Center following an argument. The two reached a settlement. No arrest, no NFL discipline.

Later in 2023, paternity lawsuits were filed against Hill by two different women.

Of course the lawyer for the accused in this latest situation would, if this goes to trial, eagerly inform jurors of Hill’s “history” and suggest it lends credence to the allegation he violently charged at a woman and broke her leg during an impromptu football clinic for the woman’s son.

The accuser is Sophie Hall, a social media influencer with more than two million followers on TikTok, Instagram and other platforms. She calls herself an actress and a model.

Social media influencers tend to trade in the currency of attention, and a quick glance at photographs of herself on Hall’s platforms advertise a woman not shy in attracting that.

Does not mean she is lying or wrong in this lawsuit.

Just as Hill’s past does not mean he is guilty now.

The Dolphins, for what it’s worth, have not deemed the lawsuit against Hill anything that merited a club statement. Neither is the NFL investigating.

What bears emphasizing is that this is purely a civil suit, and one filed almost a year later.

It is always too easy to jump to conclusions based on assumptions.

The presumption of innocence is harder, but worth the effort.