The first person from the Dallas Cowboys to publicly speak about the controversial decision to sign Greg Hardy was not the head coach, owner, general manager, president, chief operating officer or director of player personnel. It was the executive vice president who specializes in brand marketing.
The person in charge of the Cowboys’ brand is the first to defend a move that ostensibly does nothing but taint it. It is not a coincidence that this person is female.
Because this isn’t a total stereotype — leave it to the woman to clean up her dad’s/brother’s mess. To the surprise of no one, Charlotte Jones Anderson endorses the arrival of Hardy. What else was she going to say? Was she going to quit?
The smartest of the Jones clan was handed the unenviable task of defending this decision, and because of her gender, she has the type of credibility that cannot be immediately dismissed.
If a mom/daughter/wife can endorse this move, theoretically the rest of us should at least support her optimism.
The Cowboys have offered Phase 1 of their Greg Hardy plan: Charlotte Jones Anderson. Phase 2 is a locker room they are banking on to be New England West. Phase 3 is the player himself, and whether he gets it. All of us should be highly skeptical.
Whatever “plan” the parties have discussed, bet big the roots of it are sacks on the field, and crossing of fingers away from it.
On his Twitter account — @OverlordKraken — Hardy wrote Monday morning: “I don’t Care If U Like Me and God knows all so I pray he Blesses America, the Cowboys and no place else #happy to have an opportunity #WorkLikeUAlwaysDo #Harder #Hardy #sackscoming #goodmorning all real Kraken fans I love u guys”
Apparently Hardy and Ted Cruz share the same PR consultant — always throw out God and America in any PR campaign.
If there is one area the Cowboys have consistently excelled in since Jerry Jones bought this team in 1989, it is perception and brand. They know the furor over this decision will pass, and that in the end all of this posturing about being “sensitive” and an “opportunity” will fade.
We will forget, and, ultimately, we are powerless to stop it.
In an interview with NBC 5 and The Dallas Morning News, Anderson said the team does not believe in throwing people away, and that the “experts have told us it is far better to provide a way out, coupled with educational and rehabilitative services and therapy. That does more to protect the victim and prevent future violence than a zero tolerance.”
She also implied that there is an agreement in place between the Cowboys and Hardy that he takes “it seriously.” The specifics as to what taking “it seriously” means are a little fuzzy, but as everyone who has ever accepted a job knows, there are two basic truths:
1.) They lie to you about the job.
2.) You lie to get the job.
The Cowboys, and other teams, routinely have “plans in place” for players they think could cross the line. The player always says he will cooperate and wants to “learn from their experience” and put it behind him.
Then life gets busy, they forget, and they really never wanted to do it in the first place. The teams will also routinely look the other way if the player is performing on the field.
Some of these programs are a joke, too. Think about a defensive driving class and now apply it to domestic violence, relationships, parenting, etc. Or a Weight Watchers meeting where, afterward, the first order of business is pizza.
If Anderson, the Cowboys and Hardy are genuine and sincere in their efforts to be proactive about learning and taking on domestic violence, that’s great. But in a few months, what we should expect is just silence.
No one should ever be thrown away. And just because Hardy’s talent is football doesn’t means he should have that opportunity taken away if a team wants to give him a job.
My problem remains that there has been zero punishment, and thus far, the action plan entails a check with several zeroes, and a lot of hot air.
The Cowboys are betting that their locker room is so strong that the player in question won’t do anything to threaten the team’s success.
That has worked for more than a decade in New England, where Patriots coach Bill Belichick and assistant head coach Tom Brady will bring in “bad guys” secure in knowing they will fall in line.
Of course, that didn’t stop Aaron Hernandez from doing his thing.
The Cowboys will ultimately be powerless to stop anything Hardy does, which they are hoping is nothing but pressuring quarterbacks. This is a grown man with a lot money, and likely a fleet of sycophantic enablers who want to help him spend that cash.
This is not the first, nor will it be the last time Father Jerry has opened his doors to give a guy a second chance because he doesn’t believe in throwing people away, especially those who can help his team win. Jerry will always take risks because that’s what he does — and few feel the PR hit any less than his organization.
None of us should be surprised if Charlotte Anderson gives Greg Hardy the Cowboys’ Top Woman in Charge seal of approval because, well, what else was she going to say?
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Twitter: @macengelprof and The Big Mac Blog