Last week, the photos of a battered and bruised Nichole Holder emerged, giving the world a look at the horrific assault she received from Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy.
The incident, which nearly ended Holder’s life, resulted in Hardy being convicted on two counts of domestic violence before each side came to a settlement during an appeals process, dropping the charges for Hardy.
Despite his inexcusable actions, Hardy snuck through the justice system and straight back into the NFL. Entering into the 2015 season, the Dallas Cowboys wasted no time in signing Hardy, ready to give him the second chance that he clearly did not deserve.
The Cowboys decided to turn a blind eye toward the heinous act, instead making the decision to sign him based primarily upon his potential impact along the defensive line. Being a sixth round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers, Hardy hastily developed into a premier pass rusher. During his breakout season in 2012, he registered 11 sacks along with 41 tackles. A year later, he became one of the league’s top defensive stars, being named to the Second Team All-Pro list and forming a 15-sack campaign, which made him an irresistible free agent acquisition for Dallas. However, all the talent, ability and skill Hardy has on the field will forever be stained by the lack of basic human compassion he possesses away from the game.
Not only were the Cowboys perfectly content with handing Hardy a substantial one-year, $11.3 million deal, they have hinted at the possibility of working on a contract extension. This move shows that Cowboys’ owner, Jerry Jones, will continually douse Hardy with praise and practically ignore the issue at hand completely. Their sickening lack of discipline toward Hardy’s domestic violence issue make it seem as if the organization is condoning his actions.
“He’s, of course, one of the real leaders on this team,” Jones said during a week seven press conference. “And he earns it, and he earns it with respect from all of his teammates and that’s the kind of thing that inspires a football team.”
The Cowboys continue to idolize Hardy, acting like he is a true leader. There are many leaders in the NFL, but Hardy is far from being one of them.
A leader should be a role model, an athlete that both fellow players and fans aspire to be. Hardy doesn’t deserve that title for what he did to Holder. Instead, Hardy should be ashamed, and he shouldn’t be praised by his coaches and teammates. For assaulting his defenseless ex-girlfriend, Hardy deserves to be kicked out of the league, but the best the NFL could do was throw him onto the commissioner’s exempt list during the 2014 season and then suspend him for four games in 2015. The only way Hardy will ever face justice now is if the Cowboys open their eyes to the image this creates for their team and promptly release him.
Sometimes people deserve second chances, but Hardy certainly isn’t deserving. Though statistically performing well this season with an average of a sack per game through his first four active starts, Hardy has yet to show any remorse for his actions off the field. He hasn’t addressed the media to ask for forgiveness, or publically apologized for his actions.
In week seven, he got into an altercation with special teams Coach Rich Bisaccia which almost resulted in fists flying, showing that he is still completely incapable of controlling his anger. Along with this incident is a slew of tasteless media comments and a twitter bio that read, “innocent until proven guilty,” despite having already been proven guilty in a 2014 bench trial. Hardy has taken no steps towards fixing the devastation he caused, and for this Hardy belongs behind bars, not on the football field.
Hardy has been given a second chance, but nothing has changed. Everyday the Cowboys let him represent their team, they are excusing him and his unforgivable actions. It is time for Dallas to give up the charade. The Cowboys need to look at the bigger picture, and, like the rest of the world, realize the implications of Hardy’s actions.
It doesn’t matter how dominant Hardy is on the football field — the right thing to do is to cut ties with him. The Cowboys made a mistake forgiving Hardy and signing him, but now they can fix that mistake and stop downplaying domestic violence by releasing him and making a positive impact on the world around them.