At the time they signed Greg Hardy, the Dallas Cowboys felt they could somehow spin it into a positive by raising awareness to prevent domestic violence.
The Cowboys attempted to do that Monday, a day after Hardy created a stir by pushing and shoving teammates late in Sunday’s 27-20 loss to the New York Giants.
Executive vice president Charlotte Jones Anderson and tight end Jason Witten were among the guest speakers at a luncheon to promote The Gatehouse, a new longer-term shelter in Grapevine for abused women and children.
“It is our responsibility to use [the Cowboys brand] to bring people together,” Jones Anderson said. “Not only talk about the issue, but make significant change and really shift the culture of our nation.”
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Domestic violence is an issue that hits home for Witten, who grew up with an abusive father and whose SCORE Foundation is aimed at eliminating domestic violence.
I’ve learned that I can have a platform and an opportunity to make a difference.
Cowboys tight end Jason Witten
A short video told Witten’s story, and he spoke for about 10 minutes on the importance of raising awareness to stop this prevalent issue.
“I’ve learned that I can have a platform and an opportunity to make a difference,” Witten said. “Really, that’s the story about my foundation.”
The event also featured video messages from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, as well as the mayors and police chiefs from around the Metroplex (Grapevine, Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas, Frisco) encouraging people to ‘GET IN THE GAME.’
The event, though, had an ironic twist after Hardy’s sideline antics Sunday became a national storyline. Hardy served a four-game suspension to start this season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, stemming from a May 2014 domestic violence incident he was involved in.
Former Cowboys defensive lineman Chad Hennings attended the event, and simply said Hardy’s behavior Sunday was out of line.
“That type of laundry you want to air in private, in the locker room, and not do it on the sideline because it doesn’t represent the team well,” Hennings said. “Period.”