Culture of Hoops

Domestic Violence, the NFL and the Deplorable Media

It was just over a year ago when Ray Rice became the poster boy for domestic violence in the NFL and sports in general. Apparently Greg Hardy wasn’t paying attention. In fact, it appears that even the greasy media and fickle public have already forgotten about the disturbing elevator video that showed Rice punching and dragging his then fiancé, now wife, Janay Palmer through a hotel lobby.

Rice, who was originally suspended just two games by the NFL for his domestic incident, later was released by the Ravens and then suspended indefinitely after the video publicly surfaced via TMZ and caused public outrage. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell denied ever seeing the video and eventually announced a suspicious, private investigation into the matter. Essentially, Goodell tried to notion that TMZ has more power than the National Football League … Nice try!

Rice has since then served his time and he and Palmer were able to move forward in their lives and still get married. They have both been very up front about the entire unfortunate circumstance in efforts to help others that are in similar situations. Rice even recently stated that if he doesn’t find another home as a running back in the NFL then he would gladly work for the league to raise awareness of domestic violence.

Just about four months after Rice’s incident, then Carolina Panther Greg Hardy was arrested and booked for physically assaulting his then girlfriend, Nicole Holder, and threatening to kill her “if she ever did anything to damage his career.”

Hardy called the police himself and pretended like he was the one getting assaulted. The recently released 911 call transcript reads like so: “I have a welt on my face, she just hit me twice … I’m not touching her … my manager’s retaining her. She’s trying to come at me bro.” 

When the police arrived at the scene, Holder had already left the house and was met in the street by Charlotte police officer Jeffrey Kendrick. Afraid, Holder claimed that her blatant cuts and bruises happened when she “fell down the stairs.” When the police arrived inside of Hardy’s apartment he sat there on the couch with an apparent rifle leaning 10 feet away in the window. Hardy claimed that it was just an air rifle and when the police asked if he had any other weapons in the apartment, he admitted to having just one handgun. When Hardy was forced to turn over his weapons after getting arrested, he handed over 10 firearms – the same 10 that were allegedly laying across the couch he threw his girlfriend on when he threatened to kill her.

To make a long story short, the case went to trial only to be dropped in February. Hardy was originally suspended by the NFL for most of last season with the Panthers (who let him walk) as well as ten games this year. The Dallas Cowboys were quick to sign the Pro Bowl defensive end for a one-year deal worth up to $13.1 million, ignoring all warning signs, morals or standards. After an appeal, the suspension was then reduced to four games and Hardy has gone right back to being probably a bigger superstar than before the trial – exactly what Holder said would happen. Exactly why Holder pretended to have just “fallen down the stairs.”

Fast-forward to last weekend when Deadspin got ahold of the police photos of Holder’s Hardy inflicted injuries and then published an in depth story that broke down the entire ordeal. The media and public both went crazy, immediately calling for justice. Now that there is visual evidence, thanks to the great Deadspin and their exceptional journalist Diana Moskovitz doing an incredibly thorough and brave investigative report to expose the psychotic sociopath known as Greg Hardy, people are outraged.

Where was the media when the Cowboys signed him? Where was the media when the NFL cut his suspension down to a mere four games? Not more than a handful of so-called “journalists” had enough balls to take a stand against Greg Hardy, Jerry Jones and “America’s Team.”

To make matters worse, Hardy has shown no remorse and has done absolutely nothing to help his image. Prior to his first week back from suspension and into the public eye, he told reporters that he was going to come out “guns blazing” from his absence. The week leading up to his first game back, he made creepy, sexual comments about Tom Brady’s wife during a radio interview ahead of their matchup with the Patriots, later telling reporters, “Have you seen his wife? I hope she comes to the game. I hope her sister comes to the game, all her friends come to the game. One of my favorite games of the year, guys.”

But most notably, after losing a late lead to the division rival Giants a few weeks ago, Hardy was seen on the sideline in a screaming match with injured star wide receiver Dez Bryant, who was attempting to calm Hardy down after he got into it with special teams coach Rich Bisaccia and multiple others on the Cowboys’ sideline. He was shown slapping away his coach’s clipboard as he threw an immature temper tantrum. After the game he was arrogant and rude to reporters, as if he was in the right and no one should dare ask him about the incident, and essentially ignored every question.

Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones came out publicly when the media asked what he thought of Hardy’s outburst and called him a “leader.”

Some leader.

But I guess that’s the kind of leadership you learn from playing in the NFL. After all, they are just learning from their boss, Roger Goodell. The man who makes upwards of $44 million a year has sat back and done nothing during this entire circus of events and is nowhere to be found. It’s ok; the NFL is still making more money than ever and even negative press is still press for “The Shield.”

We haven’t had the pleasure of hearing from the commissioner, but some Eagles players came out and expressed their disdain for Hardy after Sunday night’s nationally televised primetime victory over the Cowboys. “There are three types of people I have zero respect for in this world,” center Jason Kelce said, via “It’s people who hit women, people who molest children, and rapists. I’m glad he didn’t have a good day and … I don’t know. I think it’s a joke a guy like that is able to play this quickly.”

Eagles left tackle Lane Johnson added, “Any time I had a chance to put a little muscle into a block, I did. He’s good. But he’s a guy when things are going good, he’s great. But when he’s not effective, he’ll shut it down.”

Of course, Hardy didn’t speak to the media after the game, so we’ll just have to accept Saturday’s lame Twitter apology for now:

What is it going to take for things to change in the NFL? Why are there so many more incidents of violence across the NFL than seemingly any other sport?

The answer is clear to me – these are the biggest and strongest men and egos in the world being paid handily to be as aggressive and violent as possible all while sustaining repetitive headshots.

How many more domestic violence incidents, murders and suicides can the NFL withstand? As many as we allow.

Follow Rich Peters on Twitter @Tricky_Roma.

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