The old saying “a picture speaks a thousand words” might not be correct in the case of Greg Hardy. The report on Hardy’s domestic violence case itself was well over 10,000 words, but one picture uncovered by Deadspin.com spoke much, much louder.
Hardy’s conviction of domestic violence was overturned on appeal last February. The charge was later erased from his record, and his 10-game suspension from the NFL was reduced to four games on appeal. The Dallas Cowboys signed Hardy to a 1-year, $11.3 million contract. He was back to living his life. Then came the pictures.
The pictures show Hardy’s ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder badly bruised both around her neck, back, and legs. The bruises were a result of a domestic dispute between Hardy and Holder. The whole story starts with a long night at various bars, but when they returned to Hardy’s apartment, he lost it.
“I tried to get up, he pushed me,” Holder said in Hardy’s initial trial. “Then I started fighting back, he threw me into the bathroom, I hit the back of the shower wall and fell into the bathtub where he pulled me out.”
He then dragged her by her hair, threw her onto a futon covered in guns and began to strangle her.
“He was gonna kill me, this is it… this is the time. He’s actually gonna do it,” Holder said to police.
Then Hardy snapped out of it and called his friend to come into the room and start filming as he attempted to get her to retaliate against him. It was Hardy who called 9-1-1 and it was Hardy who played the victim. The first thing Holder said when the police came was, “It doesn’t matter, nothing is going to happen to him anyways.”
Look where we are. Greg Hardy is still playing football. Greg Hardy is still making loads of money. Greg Hardy’s worst punishment was a four-game suspension.
There are only two groups of people that can affect Hardy’s status with the league: the Cowboys organization and NFL fans. The Cowboys could do what’s right and release him, both for the sake of their organization and because their season isn’t looking great with a 2-6 record. Jerry Jones, after Hardy made remarks about Tom Brady’s wife and got in an altercation with a coach, had the audacity to call Hardy a “real leader”. I’m not saying he meant it off the field, but it is clear to me that he isn’t a leader on the field, especially when he is on the team with Jason Witten, one of the most respected players in the league. That’s the same Witten, who, by the way, is also the poster boy for the NFL’s domestic violence awareness campaign.
Jerry Jones is simply an enabler. I understand the idea of giving Hardy a second chance, and I believe in second chances, but he validates the public opinion of himself week in and week out by doing stupid things on the field and making dumb comments off it.
Now we turn to the NFL fans. Don’t watch Cowboy games anymore. I watched Sunday Night Football this week. I know it’s tough because I love this game as much as the next guy, but Jerry Jones, the NFL and most certainly Greg Hardy do not deserve our viewership and our attention. I understand he is one man on a team, but he is one man who committed a crime that would get you fired from 99 percent of jobs in the country as well as some jail time. Instead he’s making over $11 million this year alone and the charge has been wiped from his record.
You know what happened when Aaron Hernandez was accused of murder? The Patriots cut him. They didn’t wait for evidence to come out. The Atlanta Falcons cut Michael Vick when they saw the evidence against him in the dog fighting scandal. The Cowboys saw the evidence and gave Hardy a nice cushy contract. Should domestic abusers, attempted murderers, and child abusers be banned from the league? It appears not, and we can thank a commissioner who went after Tom Brady for alleged ball tampering harder than he went after Hardy for nearly choking his girlfriend to death.
I am now speaking directly to Roger Goodell (hope he reads his copy of TNH this week). You say you’re worried about the integrity of the game? Then why in the world is Greg Hardy on an NFL field?
As UNH Class of 1982 alumna and Cowboys fan Jackie McMullen said last week on ESPN’s Around the Horn,
“I don’t understand why anybody would ever root one second—one second—for the Dallas Cowboys as long as Jerry Jones is in charge of this football team and his signing Greg Hardy as a free agent to help his football team. If he saw those photos, shame on him. If he didn’t see these photos, shame on him even more.”
Ditto, Jackie. Ditto.