On Nov. 6 of this year, online news site Deadspin released photos and testimonials taken by police regarding the alleged assault by Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy of his girlfriend, Nicole Holder, in May 2014. This was just a year and a half after the alleged assault, and one day after Hardy had the charges expunged from his record. The photos and testimony of Holder are shocking to say the least. They show Holder covered in bruises on her neck, back, head, arms, and legs, injuries she claimed she sustained when Hardy threw her against a tile wall, onto a couch, and choked her.
With all this information it must seem obvious to many that Hardy should be in jail, or at the very least be kicked out of the NFL. But one year later Hardy is not only not in jail, he is an active member of the Dallas Cowboys. Hardy was initially given a 10-game suspension from the league earlier this year in April, but in July that was reduced to just four games. All of this is eerily reminiscent of what Holder told the officer who found her wandering the streets after the alleged assault: “It doesn’t matter, nothing is going to happen to him anyways.”
With this mountain of evidence against Hardy, most would be confused as to how he was not convicted. Originally Hardy was found guilty and was supposed to spend 18 months on probation but the victim failed to testify when Hardy appealed the decision. Hardy is a damn good football player but is that the reason that he’s walking around free as a bird? Does his financial situation and spotlight make him untouchable even with documented evidence against him? Maybe, but it’s possible we’ll never know, and we can only assume.
Controversy continues to swirl as to why Hardy’s conviction wasn’t upheld but as it stands, Hardy is back in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys who decided to pick him up despite knowing what he did. Hardy had been previously dropped by the Carolina Panthers and there was much backlash from NFL fans when he joined the Cowboys. This did not persuade the Cowboys to let him go however, and after his four game suspension he was back on the field.
For anyone hoping that Hardy would still be kicked off the Cowboys, the photos of Holder must have been godsend. Surely after seeing the alleged brutality that Holder was subjected to there would be no team in the NFL willing to roster him, but the new evidence was not enough to sway Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who released this statement, “Again, we want to give him a second chance, and we certainly know that in many areas he’s taking advantage of those assets that we have. And to the end that he does the right thing for himself and others, as well as the right thing by the NFL, then we’re giving him a second chance.” What Jones is referring to is programs Hardy is currently in that are meant to rehabilitate him. Apparently these classes, and the ideal of giving people a second chance, is enough to excuse a man who was lucky enough to have assault charges dropped after being convicted.
It is extremely likely that the only way Hardy will be kicked off the Cowboys is if he commits another crime. Knowing this, much of the work to get Hardy let go from the franchise will have to be done by fans of the NFL. After the pictures of the alleged assault were released there was a massive outcry all across the internet, but how many of these people are actual NFL or Cowboys fans and contribute to things like jersey sales and number of viewers-per-game. If there is any hope of Hardy being released it is to hit the Cowboys where it hurts the most — in the wallet — but we need those who contribute to the Cowboys financially to step up and declare that they will not support an organisation that does this type of thing.
Considering all the crimes committed recently in the NFL, the abuse of significant others by Ray Rice and Ray McDonald, and the murders committed by Aaron Hernandez, you have to wonder when the NFL and the teams that play for them will step up and take responsibility for the actions of their own players. The answer is that they will have no other option once we as fans take responsibility for the teams we root for.