The NFL made a statement with its decision to suspend Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy for the first 10 games of the 2015 season.
Now the NFL Players Association plans to fight back.
Not only will the NFLPA appeal the 10-game suspension on Hardy’s behalf, but is also considering filing suit against the league, a source said.
“The NFL has been overturned twice by judges for retroactively applying their conduct policy,” the NFLPA said in a statement released Thursday. “Every time the NFL decides to make something up, we are obligated to hold them accountable to the collective bargaining agreement.”
The NFL announced the Hardy decision Wednesday afternoon after a two-month investigation, saying the suspension is for “conduct detrimental to the league” stemming from a May 2014 incident that brought domestic violence charges against Hardy.
The NFL investigation concluded that Hardy used physical force against his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, in at least four instances.
A North Carolina judge convicted Hardy on domestic violence charges last July, but Hardy appealed and sought a jury trial. The case was dropped when the court could not locate Holder, who reportedly reached a financial settlement with Hardy.
At issue for the NFLPA is that the NFL didn’t mention domestic violence at all in its reprimand of Hardy nor seemingly apply the penalties already in the collective bargaining agreement.
It also cited Hardy for multiple incidents rather than one incident.
Under the new personal conduct policy, a player’s first offense is a six-game suspension. The old policy was a two-game suspension.
If the appeal doesn’t work, the NFLPA feels good about taking legal action as it did with Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who had his suspension overturned in February.
U.S. District Judge David Doty said the league cannot retroactively apply the standards of its new, tougher personal-conduct policy to an action by Peterson that occurred before the policy was in place.
Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760