There is no question the Dallas Cowboys knew the details of domestic violence incident involving defensive end Greg Hardy and his ex-girl friend Nicole Holder before they signed him last March.
But Friday was the first time anyone from the organization saw the photos from the incident, detailing the injuries to Holder.
The photos were released Friday by Deadspin, showing multiple bruises all over her body.
Others showed Hardy with marks on his face.
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Hardy declined to comment about the photos in the Cowboys locker room on Friday.
Owner Jerry Jones said the Cowboys were aware of the incident even though they had not seen the photos.
“While we did not have access to the photos that became public today, we were and are aware of the serious nature of this incident,” Jones said in a statement. “We as an organization take this very seriously. We do not condone domestic violence. We entered into the agreement with Greg fully understanding that there would be scrutiny and criticism.”
The incident happened in May of 2014 when Hardy was still a member of the Carolina Panthers.
He was arrested and charged with attacking and threatening Holder.
Hardy was found guilty by a North Carolina judge last summer, but he appealed and sought a jury trial. Prosecutors dropped charges when Holder stopped cooperating because she was allegedly paid off.
The charges were officially expunged by a judge in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Thursday. So the incident is not listed on Hardy’s record.
But one day later, the pictures were made available by Deadspin for all to see forever.
Again, while Friday was the first time the Cowboys had seen the photos they understood the facts of the case and findings in the first trial.
Vice-president Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett also said the team did a thorough background check of Hardy before signing him.
The NFL saw the photos before initially suspending Hardy for 10 games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The suspension was reduced to four on appeal.
Hardy, who sat out all but one game last year while on commissioner’s exempt list, returned to the field three games ago. His impact has been immediate with a team-leading three sacks, an interception and a forced fumble.
Jones has doubled down on his support of Hardy since his return, calling him an inspirational team leader while also saying the team was interested in signing him to a long-term contract extension.
He remained behind Hardy on Friday.
“We have given Greg a second chance,” Jones said in the statement. “He is a member of our team and someone who is grateful for the opportunity he has been given to move forward with his life and his career.”