Enough is Enough: Domestic Violence in the NFL has Reached a Breaking Point

For anyone who reads this blog regularly, you know how I feel about Greg Hardy. I have called for him to be punished by the league. I have questioned whether or not he actually learned anything from his domestic violence case. He seems to still think he is completely innocent. With our legal system, you remain innocent until proven guilty. Up until now, nothing grabbed the public’s attention enough to make them think he was clearly guilty.

Well there is finally proof. Deadspin released photos on Friday of Nicole Holder, Hardy’s ex-girlfriend, the night of her fight with Hardy. The photo’s are pretty gruesome and disturbing but they are undeniable proof that Hardy did everything he was accused of.

Yet, Hardy still walks around a free man. Completely untouched by the law or the league for his actions. He even still plays in the NFL and his general manager/owner/billionaire football fan Jerry Jones wants to give him a contract extension. Jones has even gone as far to call Hardy a leader on the Cowboys.

That statement is simply laughable after Hardy accosted special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia when Dallas gave up a kickoff return touchdown against the Giants. That blow up was quickly followed by a verbal argument with star wide receiver Dez Bryant on the sideline. Not exactly screaming leadership right there.

Bottom line, Greg Hardy does not deserve to be in the NFL. Probably for a number of reasons, but most importantly for the fact that he assaulted a women and threatened to kill her. I don’t care how good you are at football. When you do something like that, you don’t deserve a second chance.

I don’t want to hear well everyone deserves a second chance nonsense either. This isn’t Josh Gordon smoking pot or Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg. This is Hardy beating a woman to the point where she asked him to just end it and kill her.

The Cowboys should cut Hardy right now. I don’t care how good of a pass rusher he is. Ray Rice is no longer in this league because teams refuse to sign him. Obviously, Rice is a different caliber player than Hardy, as in he wasn’t as highly valued but that should not matter here. The league as a whole took a stand by not signing him. It was publicly blown up just how horrible a thing Rice did to his then-fiance. The video of Rice punching his wife in the face and knocking her cold made its rounds on the internet and no one had any sympathy for him after that.

Well here is your smoking gun. We finally see just what the result of Hardy’s outburst was and it honestly might have been worse than what Rice did. He left Holder wanting death, covered in bruises and abrasions.

Unfortunately, Holder understood that these professional athletes are just about untouchable. They, time and time again, get away with domestic violence issues without being put away. It is not just contained to Rice and Hardy.

One of the first incidents I could find of domestic violence in the NFL dates back over a decade ago to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Michael Pittman. Pittman reportedly rammed his car into another one that held his wife, then two-year old daughter and the child’s baby sitter. He was charged with aggravated assault and domestic violence charges. Those were dropped though when he plead guilty to endangerment charges instead. He received a 30-day jail sentence, of which he served 14 days before he was released. The NFL also gave Pittman a three-game suspension to open the 2004 season. In 2011, Pittman was arrested again for a physical altercation with his wife. Clearly, he learned a lot from his initial punishment.

It continued with Dwayne Carswell, a former Denver Broncos tight end, later that year. Carswell was arrested for picking up his girlfriend by the neck. He pleaded no contest and the NFL gave him a one-game suspension. However, that wasn’t the first incident in which Carswell was accused of grabbing his girlfriend by the neck, yet both times he managed to avoid jail time.

Fast forward to 2011, when Chris Cook of the Minnesota Vikings was charged with felony assault for beating his girlfriend. The NFL suspended him indefinitely and he missed the rest of the 2011 season. Cook’s girlfriend had a perforated eardrum, a bloody nose and marks on her neck that were consistent with strangulation. He said he was provoked though when his girlfriend threw a shoe at him. Somehow, Cook got off on all charges and returned to the Vikings the following season, never facing any jail time or further suspension.

There have been two other players not named Greg Hardy suspended for domestic violence in 2015 as well, and like Hardy, neither of them served any jail time.

From what I was able to find, eight NFL players in the last 11 years have been suspended for domestic violence and none of them have spent more than 14 days in jail. Pittman was the only one to ever serve any jail time. Everyone else inexplicably got off with probation or community service.

I’m not saying that no one deserves a second chance, but these players do not. They have not earned the right to represent the NFL any longer. Players who do their time at least deserve to be considered for a return.

I mentioned Burress earlier. He never harmed anyone but himself and he spent 20 months in prison. Michael Vick was involved with a dog fighting ring and earned himself 17 months in prison. I’m not saying that Burress and Vick didn’t deserve their time in prison, I’m merely pointing out that these guys actually paid for the crimes they committed. And when they returned, they still faced ridicule and questions about whether or not they deserved to be back.

It seems a little disproportionate to me that a man who shot himself in the thigh and a man who organized a dog fighting ring spent a combined 37 months in prison while eight men arrested on varying levels of domestic violence and assault charges have totaled just 14 days behind bars. Those numbers are simply baffling and no one has done anything to change that.

NFL players continue to be excused for assault and remain in the league most of the time. Rice is the first noticeable example of a player not allowed back for domestic violence. And that wasn’t due to a policy the league enacted, it was simply due to the public backlash that would have came with signing him. The consequences for not properly punishing them are clear as well as we have players like Pittman and Carswell arrested on multiple occasions for the same reason.

Actions speak much louder than words. It is clear that these players have not learned anything from their respective instances. Hardy already is acting like a bully off the field and making sexist comments about opponent’s wives.

Getting these players to understand that their actions are unacceptable needs to be part of the process. So far, nothing that the legal system or the league has done has had too many lasting effects on those players responsible for domestic violence issues. There needs to be an overhaul.

The NFL should not allow these cowardly men to return to the league. They are a disgrace to football as a whole and they are a very poor representation of the game. No man should ever harm a women. I have no tolerance or respect for those who do. As a fan of the NFL, I sincerely hope they aren’t around much longer.


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