Greg Hardy has become the new face of domestic violence for the NFL.
Yahoo! is reporting that Hardy was found guilty by a North Carolina judge of assaulting his former girlfriend, Nicole Holder, in an incident that allegedly involved hair-pulling, slamming a toilet seat on her arm, and putting his hands around her neck. While he awaits the next step in Hardy’s legal defense, a jury trial, Hardy played in the Carolina Panthers’ season-opening game last weekend, and is scheduled to play this Sunday.
Hardy was excused for Tuesday’s practice for undisclosed reasons, said Panthers coach Ron Rivera. In an email to Yahoo Sports, Panthers director of communications Charlie Dayton said Hardy’s appeal “is part of the legal process in this state,” and the jury trial begins with a presumption of innocence.
On Wednesday night, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson tearfully defended himself and his franchise at an awards dinner in his honor – an event that commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly cancelled out of.
“I stand firmly against domestic violence, plain and simple,” Richardson said. “To those who would suggest that we’ve been too slow to act, I ask that you consider not to be too quick to judge. Over the course of our 20 years, we have worked extremely hard to build an organization of integrity.”
Richardson was given an “award against indifference” on Wednesday, and the indifference shows. The league has choked when dealing with these situations, rather than acting proactively to an imminent threat. Doing nothing, as the Baltimore Ravens and the Panthers have done, shows an indifference the NFL so vehemently rails against.
Time is giving express detail by publishing the arrest report in full. It begins with the arresting officer’s statement, which included capital letters.
“I, the undersigned, find that there is probable cause to believe that on or about the date of the offense shown [May 13, 2014] and in the county named above [Mecklenburg County, North Carolina] the defendant named above [Hardy] unlawfully and willingly did assault [redacted], a female person, by GRABBING VICTIM AND THROWING TO THE FLOOR, THROWING INTO A BATHTUB, SLAMMING HER AGAINST A FUTON, AND STRANGLING HER. The defendant is a male person and was at least 18 years of age when the assault occurred.”
Hardy was then found guilty of assaulting a female and communicating threats. Hardy was sentenced to 18 months probation, the 60-day jail sentence was suspended. However, since Hardy was found guilty of a misdemeanor, he is allowed to appeal and have a jury trial next.
The big issue here is that there was no videotape of Hardy committing the crime, where the world has seen Ray Rice punch his then-fiance. Still, when you hear of the brutality that this woman went through, and to have it labelled a misdemeanor, there seems to be inherent flaws in not only the judicial system, but in the public’s perception of domestic violence.
It looks like the public should get an award for indifference, as well.
[Image courtesy of Busted Coverage]