DeMaurice Smith won’t speculate whether he believes Greg Hardy’s 10-game suspension will be reduced on appeal. But the NFL Players Association executive director quickly points out precedent for it.
“In the last three years, we’ve had the league overturned three times in [the Saints’] Bounty, [Adrian] Peterson and Ray Rice,” Smith said Wednesday. “To me, it’s never a question about whether I’m confident or not. We start with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and if they continue to seek to impose penalties that are inconsistent with that agreement or inconsistent of the law of the case that has been developed under that agreement, this is what unions do. We fight that.”
The league handed down the suspension for the Dallas Cowboys defensive end last week, making him ineligible to play until Thanksgiving. The NFLPA filed an appeal Friday, asking for a neutral arbitrator, and it has threatened a lawsuit.
“We believe that they are punishing Greg Hardy according to a new set of rules that’s inconsistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the precedent of the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” Smith said. “And we also believe that he’s been subjected to a process that’s inconsistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement. So it’s our duty to fight both the penalty and the process.”
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U.S. District Judge David Doty overturned Peterson’s suspension in February, saying the league cannot retroactively apply the standards of its new, tougher personal-conduct policy to an action that occurred before the implementation of the policy.
Hardy’s suspension stems from an incident last May that brought domestic violence charges.
A North Carolina judge convicted Hardy last summer, but Hardy appealed and sought a jury trial. Prosecutors, citing a financial settlement Hardy reached with Holder, dropped charges when the key witness stopped cooperating.
Hardy made $13.1 million last year with the Carolina Panthers, playing only one game before being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. He signed with the Cowboys as a free agent.
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760