The Dallas Cowboys are rumored to be headed for trouble, with reports that Greg Hardy could be facing new discipline after Deadspin released 48 photos of the alleged abuse he inflicted on his former girlfriend, Nicole Holder.
The previously unseen pictures showed brutal abuse, with bruising across Holder’s body. Greg Hardy had already been suspended four games, reduced from the original 10 games after Hardy appealed through the NFL Players Association.
During this process, the NFL reportedly viewed the photographs from Hardy’s alleged domestic violence incident, though the Dallas Cowboys reportedly had not seen them before signing Hardy to a one-year contract.
Greg Hardy was initially found guilty in a bench trial of assaulting and threatening Holder, but he appealed and asked for a jury trial, at which point he reached a financial settlement with Holder and she stopped cooperating.
So far, the Dallas Cowboys have stood by their decision to sign Greg Hardy, with owner Jerry Jones releasing a statement on Friday, saying they were aware of the allegations and had decided to give the defensive end a second chance.
“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,” Jones said (via the Washington Post).
“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.”
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) November 7, 2015
But there are rumors that the Dallas Cowboys could still be losing Greg Hardy. The release of the pictures has led to outrage against his light penalty from the league and drawn comparisons to Ray Rice, who received a one-game suspension from the NFL for his domestic violence incident with his then-fiancee. Rice was suspended indefinitely after video of the attack emerged, and so far no team has taken a chance on him again after his reinstatement.
There are even some who believe that Greg Hardy should be suspended permanently from the NFL. USA Today columnist Christine Brennan said she hopes Hardy goes the same way as Ray Rice.
“Hopefully, they’ll have the same effect on Hardy’s career as the video did on Rice’s. 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.”
“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.”
“Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has called Hardy a ‘real leader.’ Jones couldn’t be more wrong. Hardy, plain and simple, is a monster.”
“I’ve written that word before, based on reading Holder’s testimony at the trial. Now, after seeing the photos, it seems all the more appropriate.”
Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley contrasted the NFL’s lenient treatment of Hardy with its pursuit of Tom Brady for his alleged role in the DeflateGate scandal. The NFL is still pursuing that case in court, Buckley noted, while Hardy is apparently done with his punishment.
— Mark Brehm (@mwbrehm) November 7, 2015
It is unclear what happens next, or how much truth there is to the rumors that the Dallas Cowboys could lose Greg Hardy. The extent of the punishment — if any — could depend on much the pressure on Roger Goodell and the league’s front office become. Judging by the reaction in just less than a day, it’s likely to get much worse for the NFL.
[Picture by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]