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.

Why the NFL had no choice with Brady

The NFL is a joke these days. The fact that you can sit there and think to yourself, well what are you referring to here is some indication of how much so. It could be the laughable attempts to improve player safety, the failure to address domestic violence or the continued drug related suspensions. In this case, I’m actually referring to none of those though and I’m focusing on the NFL time and time again reducing or repealing player suspensions.

It has been a long six months for Tom Brady. Usually, the Super Bowl champion would get at least a little time to relax and savor his victory. Instead, he has spent his offseason in the midst of a private investigation regarding the deflation of footballs in the AFC Title Game against the Colts. Brady was subjected to questioning first by the league then later by independent investigators under Ted Wells. The whole story was poked and prodded as much as possible and the media (yes myself included) had a field day with it. It was a supposed stain on the legacy of Brady and the Pats Super Bowl win.

Tom_BradyYet as time has gone on, no real hard evidence has surfaced. The Wells report indicates that Brady “more likely than not” was aware of the situation. Brady once again refuted the claims but the league imposed a four-game ban on the New England quarterback for the start of next season.

That didn’t settle anything though as the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and Brady went on to appeal the suspension. That to weeks of trials and further investigations into the situation. What surfaced most recently definitely puts Brady in some hot water. It turns out he had destroyed his cell phone and sim card while the NFL was trying to acquire them as evidence. He claims it was a normal procedure for him as he was replacing his old phone. I can bet Brady wouldn’t want his own personal information, messages or photos falling into the wrong hands and winding up online. It makes sense to destroy. Unfortunately, he just picked a really bad time to do it.

The phone destruction doesn’t necessarily prove anything but it certainly makes Brady look guilty and that was enough for the NFL to vote to uphold the suspension. Brady and the NFLPA are now appealing that decision because apparently you can appeal everything in the NFL. Maybe Brady has a point that the NFL doesn’t have enough hard evidence but that’s not why they are making an example of him.

As I have made clear the NFL is a joke with reducing and repealing suspensions. So it should come as no surprise that the league feels it is pressured to uphold Brady’s suspension to save face. The NFL can attempt to be as harsh as it wants but it has previously set precedents that the NFLPA will often use as a way to negotiate down a suspension. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the length of some of them either (see Ray Rice, domestic violence). In short, the NFL has looked weak and it seems like the NFLPA has just been pushing them around.

Tom BradyThe league has no desire to look weak obviously. Already this summer Greg Hardy and LeVeon Bell had suspensions reduced after appealing the decision. The league needed to make a stand and show that it is capable of dishing out a suspension then upholding it. The NFL gave itself no choice but to uphold the suspension. Brady just seems to be caught in the crossfire. Now I can’t tell you if Tom Brady is innocent or not. That much has not been clear. What is clear is the overall lack of cohesion between the NFL and the NFLPA and the amount of leeway Commissioner Roger Goodell has with suspensions.

The NFL was in many ways forced to implement a system that established standard sentences regarding domestic violence punishments. The league also has a system in place for violations of the substance abuse policy. However, outside of those two categories, there is a lot left open for interpretation. That is where Goodell simply seem to slap an arbitrary number of weeks on the table and say it is final. The league needs to find a way to avoid that at all costs. That sort of uncertainty surrounding the suspension allows it to be appealed. Brady’s situation is unique but that does not mean that Goodell should choose what he feels is warranted. It is more than clear that Goodell’s judgement is questionable at best.

The easiest thing for the league to do is arrange an outside board that collaborates with the NFLPA to assign suspensions that fall outside the realm of domestic violence or substance abuse. That was not everything is being appealed before it even hits the table and Goodell is removed from the equation.

As for Brady, there is only one way that the league will relent on his four-game suspension, if he admits that he was involved or had knowledge of the situation. Even then, it would only cut his suspension in half. I don’t see Brady going this far only to back off and say he knew. Whether he did or not. I think Brady is just going to have to bite the bullet and sit out the four games. No one seems capable of coming to his rescue. Not even the NFLPA. The NFL is determined to make up for past weaknesses.  It is at war. And it seems determined to win.