Given his extremely checkered past, it should come as no surprise that Greg Hardy’s future would eventually end up getting judged by a group of citizens. Though, I think most assumed that judgment from the citizenry would come in the form of a jury in a courtroom.
Instead, Greg Hardy’s immediate football future was judged by a “jury” of fans. And, it did not go well for him.
Thursday morning brought the final verdict, after a ten-hour fan vote in which the fans of the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles voted that they did not want Hardy to play for their Indoor Football League team. The “no vote” became official after results revealed that the barest of majorities, 50. 1% of fans, had decided against Hardy.
The former Panthers and Cowboys defensive end had expressed an interest in joining the Screaming Eagles. However, given the extremely sensitive and controversial nature of Hardy’s past, the team didn’t want to proceed with activating him without the consent of the fan base.
The team issued a statement explaining their stance on the team website, where the fan voting took place, saying, “He has expressed a strong desire to join the Screaming Eagles as a way for him to showcase his football skills and prove worthy of another chance. As a football player, Hardy is a physically gifted pass-rusher who could make an immediate impact on our defensive line. As an off-the-field member of the community, there are past allegations and arrests that he carries.
“We have spent the past week speaking with Greg directly and with many of his former teammates and coaches. After hours of deliberation and debate, Screaming Eagles ownership, management, and coaches are in unanimous agreement that we will support Greg joining the team under one condition — that our fans vote to allow him.”
On Thursday morning, the team released another statement, standing by their decision to abide by the fan vote, “We understood this fan vote to sign Greg Hardy would be controversial, but we believe in empowering fans to make the final decision, the right decision. We stand behind what was agreed upon and what is best for the team’s future success.”
Hardy has a lengthy list of offenses. As chronicled by ESPN’s Darren Rovell:
(Hardy)…played only one game in 2014 before being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list following a domestic violence incident in North Carolina in May 2014. Hardy was convicted on charges of domestic violence in a bench trial by a judge. After an appeal, the case was thrown out in February 2015 when the woman who accused him stopped cooperating with authorities.
Prosecutors said they believed Hardy and the woman had reached a settlement. Hardy’s record was expunged, but in November 2015, Deadspin released photos from the night of the alleged incident that showed bruising to his ex-girlfriend’s back, jaw and feet.
The NFL suspended Hardy for the first 10 games of the 2015 season without pay on grounds that he had violated the league’s personal conduct policy. The NFL cited the presence of guns in his apartment in the ruling.
Not to mention Hardy’s arrest for cocaine possession last year.
Otherwise, he’s a great dude that anyone would want on their football team.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn