On Thursday, the domestic violence charges against Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy were expunged from his record. The next day a progressive website known as Deadspin released photographs of bruises on the body of Hardy’s ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder.
Hardy called 911 the night of the 2014 incident in Charlotte, telling police of an attack on him by his girlfriend. He asked them to come to his house.
Hardy originally was convicted of assault, but the verdict was thrown out on appeal after Holder stopped cooperating. Hardy and Holder agreed to a civil settlement.
Even though the verdict was thrown out, the NFL suspended Hardy for the first 10 games of the 2015 season. An arbitrator reduced the penalty to four games.
Now with the release of the photos, many, including USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan, call for Hardy’s banishment from the NFL.
“Hardy never should have been allowed back into the NFL after originally being found guilty by a North Carolina judge of various terrible acts of violence against Holder,” Brennan wrote. “Let’s hope the release of these photos will do what the NFL could not do: punish Hardy as he should be punished, by losing his career for good.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones looks unlikely to cower to the pressure to cut Hardy. He released the following statement on Friday:
While we did not have access to the photos that became public today, we were and are aware of the serious nature of this incident. We as an organization take this very seriously. We do not condone domestic violence. We entered into the agreement with Greg fully understanding that there would be scrutiny and criticism. We have given Greg a second chance. He is a member of our team and someone who is grateful for the opportunity he has been given to move forward with his life and his career.
ESPN’s Ed Werder, who has great sources in the Cowboys organization, doesn’t think Jones will buckle to the Brennans of the world.
“I don’t think Jerry Jones for one second is going to reconsider his position with Greg Hardy,” Werder said on Friday. Neither, it seems, will Christine Brennan.
Though she wants Hardy exiled from the NFL for good for allegedly hitting a woman, Brennan strangely celebrated Ted Kennedy, terribly obese for most of his career in the U.S. Senate, as a fierce athletic competitor in a political love letter masked as a sports column after his 2009 death. Kennedy killed a woman in a late-night car accident in 1969 on Chappaquiddick Island after a day of drinking and sailing around Martha’s Vineyard. He didn’t bother to report the accident to the police until the next morning, long after they had already discovered it and long after Kennedy had made calls to the hotel manager about a noise complaint call, calls to his German mistress, and calls to various cronies. While Brennan wrote of the youngest Kennedy brother’s “beloved boat Mya,” quoted his nephew pointing to the “sense for him of being at home on the ocean,” and relayed a story of a young Ted proudly noting that “the initials E.M.K. appeared several times on a board at their yacht club,” she left out the most famous, er, em, infamous, story of Ted Kennedy and water.
Greg Hardy lost millions. Ted Kennedy never lost an election in the state of Massachusetts.
If Christine Brennan could write a fawning eulogy to Senator Ted Kennedy that emphasized his love of the water without mentioning that Mary Jo Kopechne suffocated in an air pocket while he swam to safety after driving his Oldsmobile off a bridge, why won’t she let Greg Hardy play football after enduring more punishment than that meted out to the late senator that she so admired?
Maybe Hardy deserves all the punishment and more that Brennan seeks for him. It’s just strange that she holds a sports star to a higher standard than a senator.