Greg: Hardy or Hardly Innocent?

Unfortunately for the League, the cat’s finally out of the bag. After the arrest of Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy on May 13, 2014, the details from what actually happened that night have been hidden from the public up until this past weekend. According to prosecutors involved in the case, Hardy has not spoken about the event, nor has ex-girlfriend/victim Nicole Holder after to receiving a settlement. However, Holder’s silence is no more after Deadspin released several records from Hardy’s case, shedding more light on the domestic violence account. The content included Holder’s side of the story—911 calls, countless quotes and all—along with photographs of Holder’s bruised body showcasing the physical assault that Hardy seemed to get away with.

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After the official records from the case were published, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones issued a statement regarding the incident that they thought to be water under the bridge. Jones’ statement was undeniably honest—admitting that they were prepared for “scrutiny and criticism” when entering the agreement, but also highlighting “the serious nature of this event” as they are an organization that does not “condone domestic violence.” The official statement  can be found on the Dallas Cowboys official website.

In case you are unaware of the incident prior to the emergence of Deadspin’s content, the following is what occurred within the last year. The NFL star, playing for the Carolina Panthers at the time, was arrested and charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder with no details released other than that. Hardy was convicted for the attack, but the charges didn’t stick around for long as they were later dismissed on appeal and cleared from his record. While the public was aware of the arrest, no one truly knew what had happened before Hardy’s Tuesday night sleepover behind bars until now, which allegedly consisted of Holder being thrown against a tile bathtub wall, pushed onto a pile of assault rifles sitting on the futon and choked until she was able to get away and discovered by Officer Jeffrey Kendrick. On the contrary, Deadspin released a transcript for a 911 call made by Hardy himself claiming that Holder was lashing out and that he was the victim of attack. Although highly unrealistic, Hardy told police that Holder was responsible for causing the depicted violence to herself.

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Following this incident of domestic violence, the Carolina Panthers did not bring Hardy back for the season; however, he was free to move on and found luck after getting picked up by the Dallas Cowboys in a one-year, multi-million-dollar contract despite being on the commissioner’s exempt list. Let’s face it; Hardy wasn’t kicked to the curb like the Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice—partially due to being more valuable on the field and partially because his incident remained more under wraps compared to that of viral elevator footage of Rice knocking his fiancée out cold.

By default, the NFL immediately suspended Hardy for 10 games, but the Players Association appealed, resulting in lessening Hardy’s punishment to only a four-game suspension.

There is no doubt that some damage control will be need to be initiated for Hardy’s career, but overall, this is looking the worst on the NFL’s part; especially after getting plenty of NFL players on board for the No More campaign PSA’s following the Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice events. Now, the emergence of these disturbing photos just so happen to be the icing on the cake and prove that the trend between NFL and domestic violence hasn’t been fully tackled (pun intended). Only time will tell what is next to come for those involved in the case, as well as the reactions of both NFL and non-NFL audiences.

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