Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy created a firestorm on social media with a Twitter response that made light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
A Carolina Panthers fan posted a photo of second-round receiver Devin Funchess next to second-year receiver Kelvin Benjamin, referring to them as the twin towers.
Hardy replied: “didn’t the twin towers get blown up lol.”
Hardy deleted the tweet shortly afterward, and later an apology.
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“Ill say this I apologize 4a comment that mentioned an event where no reference 2humor is ever ok but I hope my real fans know I would never,” Hardy wrote on his Twitter handle, @OverlordKraken.
But that tweet caught the attention of Cowboys brass on Day 2 of the NFL draft. Owner Jerry Jones said he was aware of it, and would address it immediately. Coach Jason Garrett said he had already attempted to get in touch with Hardy about it.
Executive vice president Stephen Jones said it is imperative for players to understand the implications of social media. It’s something he preaches to his children often.
Stephen Jones even chuckled at the notion Hardy should simply delete his Twitter account, considering it’s hard to foresee anything good coming out of it.
“These guys are young,” Stephen Jones said. “I’ve got young people in college and getting out of college and they’re into social media. I warn them everyday that it’s probably not the best thing they’re doing, spending a lot of time on social media.
“They’ve got to understand the pitfalls that come with it and once you put something out there, you better own it and better be able to live with it.”
It marked the second incident that has already involved Hardy since the Cowboys brought in the troubled defensive end. He got into a verbal spat with backup defensive lineman Davon Coleman recently, something that Coleman’s agent confirmed.
Are the Cowboys disappointed in Hardy at this point?
“No,” Stephen Jones said. “Guys are going to make slip-ups. He’s obviously made a couple decisions where you’d rather him make the better decision.
“But he’s under a microscope, he’s got to understand that. He’s a Dallas Cowboy and he came in here under some less than perfect conditions and a lot is expected. So I think he is going to learn and do better as we move forward.”
Hardy joined the Cowboys after spending the majority of last season on the commissioner’s exempt list for a domestic violence investigation stemming from a May 2014 incident. He has since been suspended 10 games by the NFL for this season, but has appealed it.
The Cowboys structured Hardy’s contract, however, to account for the possibility of a lenghty suspension with per-game roster bonuses.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760