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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How much longer is the NFL going to put up with Greg Hardy?

There are some players, no matter how talented they are, that just should not be playing in the National Football League (see Rice, Ray). Greg Hardy is quickly putting himself into that same category as someone who the NFL does not need playing.

Greg HardyIt was well documented this offseason that Hardy was in a court battle over his domestic abuse incident involving his girlfriend. Hardy received a 10-game suspension from the NFL for the 2015 season, which he appealed and was then reduced to four games.

Hardy has been back on the field for only a limited time and he has made his presence felt. He picked up eight tackles and three sacks in his last two contests. However, it has been the impact Hardy has made off the field that is much more noticeable.

Obviously, Hardy is a man with character issues. Anyone who assaults his girlfriend and then defends it as if it wasn’t his fault has character issues. That was a risk for the Cowboys as soon as they signed him. Hardy is certainly a controversial figure but Dallas seemed to brush that aside.

Convincing yourself that you will be able to control a volatile player is a poor idea. The Cowboys clearly thought they had a handle on Hardy and boy were they wrong.

Somehow, Hardy walked away from this without a fine, suspension or any punishment from the team. That has to leave most fans scratching their heads and wondering why.

Well at least the Cowboys aren’t praising him for this kind of behavior, right?

Hold the phone, after all of that, Dallas not only isn’t having a reaction to Greg Hardy’s outburst, they want to give him a contract extension? Jerry Jones has seriously lost his mind here. In watching that first video of Hardy’s outburst from last Sunday, it is clear that he is a locker room cancer. He got into a fight with star wide receiver Dez Bryant over the issue. It seemed as though Bryant was telling Hardy that he was out of line and needed to respect the coaches. Bryant has never been the best at following team rules so if he thinks that Hardy is overboard then you know something is wrong.

It also shows how much Hardy only thinks about himself. He isn’t a team player at all and decided to take his anger out on a coach. If I were the Cowboys front office, I would’ve already suspended him for conduct detrimental to the team. Hardy is a menace of a player and not in a positive way.

If Dallas is unwilling to make the proper decision here, then the NFL needs to step in. Verbal confrontation with a coach is one thing but Hardy’s physical retaliation should be more than enough to warrant at least a fine. In all honesty, Hardy shouldn’t even be playing right now in the first place because his suspension should never have been overturned so I’m surprised that the league isn’t jump all over this situation.

Making excuses for players that have talent coupled with poor attitude can tear apart a team. We saw it happen to the 2012 Jets with Santonio Holmes. Jim Harbaugh turned out to alienate the entire locker room last year. Brandon Marshall even took shots at Jay Cutler over the last two years. Team’s can implode if they are distracted off the field issues. The Cowboys already sit at 2-5. You would think they’d realize that they need to turn things around.

It is not easy to punish a top player like Hardy when he is doing so much for your team on the field. But the Cowboys need to step up and take a stand. If they let this continue, Hardy becomes bigger than the team and gets to play by his own rules.

I’m tired of watching Greg Hardy be a bully. Hopefully, the NFL is too.

What was Greg Hardy thinking?

Complain all you want about Brady’s suspension being overturned or celebrate it. Either is appropriate in this situation. However, Greg Hardy got the wrong impression from Brady’s suspension being overturned. No one should be complaining about his suspension and that includes Hardy.

Greg Hardy
Hardy recently signed a 1-year, incentive laden contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

Hardy, who is set to miss the first four games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He violated it for his involvement in a domestic abuse case back in April of 2014. He missed all but one game of the 2014 season on the commissioner’s exempt list and now will miss four more this year. However, once he heard about Brady’s suspension being vacated, he considered pushing for another appeal to turn over his own suspension.

The fact that Hardy thought he should have a fair chance of having his suspension vacated now based on what happened to Brady. There are a lot of things that don’t add up and make that notion both laughable and despicable.

Firstly, Brady’s suspension was overturned because the NFL doled out his punishment with no form of hard evidence. In Hardy’s situation, that was not the case. He was convicted of assault and found guilty in court. He received 18 months probation instead of 60 days in prison, which already showed some leniency. Then, his charges were later dismissed after a civil suit agreement with the accuser. He might have missed 15 games on the commissioner’s list, but he was still being paid for all of the games he missed. The NFL never officially gave Hardy a punishment and now these four games are the punishment he deserves. On top of all of that, the league actually suspended Hardy for 10 games initially, which he appealed and that resulted in the four game suspension.

Say whatever you want about Tom Brady being a cheater or having a tainted legacy. It does not matter. He was accused of cheating in a game of football. Bad, yes. But on the same level and physical assaulting a women? Absolutely not. Somehow though, Hardy equated those two things in his head and decided that if Brady got off, then he should too.

That idea is ridiculous. Where on Earth did Hardy get the idea that fans or a judge/jury were going to support his claim that he did not deserve his punishment. During his trial, “the accuser testified that she was assaulted by Hardy at his apartment after a night of drinking. She also said Hardy threatened to kill her and put his hands around her neck,” according to ESPN reports. Brady’s four games were for deflating footballs. Hardy’s are for threatening a women’s life. Those don’t equate on any level so Hardy should consider himself lucky that he only has to face the four games.

Hardy’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus stayed very involved with the situation.

Hardy, thankfully, decided to hold off on appealing again. That shows some recognition that the two situations were not similar but the fact that Hardy had the intentions to shows that we still have a long way to go with teaching NFL players what is acceptable. Hardy believed that he had served his punishment for a domestic violence scandal even though he was paid during the time that he was held off the field. In his mind, he came up with the idea that deflating footballs and assaulting a women were comparable. Obviously, he would never admit to that but by simply saying that the outcome for Brady could change his situation means that he made some parallel between the two.

It shows that the NFL has a long way to go before they finally teach their players that domestic violence will simply not be tolerated. Players still think they can find their way out of suspensions or at the very least negotiate their way down from where they start because it’s just domestic violence. You can maintain that it isn’t true but that is the message that the league and it’s players send when they fail to properly react to these types to situations.

Hardy made the right decision to accept his punishment in the end. I have to commend him for that much. I just really wish he had never even brought up a second appeal. Had he really put his efforts into having his suspension vacated, their would have been a big uproar and I can guarantee you that I would have been part of it.

He got off without jail time, he still got paid and he had his initial suspension reduced. Hardy couldn’t have asked for much more and the fact that he almost did bothers me. I can only hope that the time comes where the NFL no longer has to deal with these types of situations. It will take some time but it is a day that we will accept with open arms.