Mac Engel

Adding Greg Hardy is another teachable moment

Prosecutors said Greg Hardy attacked his ex-girlfriend, tossing her onto a futon covered with rifles.
Prosecutors said Greg Hardy attacked his ex-girlfriend, tossing her onto a futon covered with rifles. AP archives

Jason Garrett should cease to mention and drop all use of the word character when it comes to evaluating a football player.

A man who craftily says nothing as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, ostensibly because he is aware of the many facets of the organization he represents, has said everything about character with the addition of defensive end Greg Hardy.

Coach Process is a fraud just like every other football coach in the NFL, or college, when it comes to character. Garrett is as desperate as the rest, and character matters when it’s convenient. We already knew this, but this is yet another reminder.

Greg Hardy, welcome to Texas, where we love football almost as much as we love guns.

The Cowboys’ signing of a guy who was charged with beating the tar out of his girlfriend will be criticized because of his “infraction” last year that led the NFL to suspend him and the Carolina Panthers to cut him.

I hate this, not only because of his “background” but also because the Panthers wanted nothing in return, and I have to explain this to my kid. Jerry — you’ve got four kids — any suggestions on this one?

How do you explain Greg Hardy to a 5-year-old, or any kid?

Everybody deserves a second chance. But how do you explain that to a kindergartner who believes that boys don’t hit girls and people should keep their hands to themselves? It’s not complicated, and physical contact is not gender- specific. It’s hurtful and disrespectful and can permanently alter lives.

During a trial in July, a judge in Charlotte, N.C., found Hardy guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Prosecutors claimed Hardy flung her from the bed, threw her into a bathtub and tossed her onto a futon covered with rifles. He also ripped off a necklace and reportedly slammed the toilet lid on her arm as she tried to retrieve it. And then he threatened to kill her.

Hardy’s attorneys filed an appeal for a jury trial, which was supposed to happen in February. But all charges were dropped when the accuser failed to show up to testify. The prosecution said Hardy and the woman were believed to have reached a civil settlement — i.e., he bought her off.

The NFL is now suing the North Carolina attorney general for access to this evidence, which the league may use to suspend Hardy. Bet big that Hardy will be suspended for six games to start the 2015 season. And expect the NFL Players Association to fight a suspension and lose.

So far for his crime, Hardy’s penalty was to miss 15 NFL games in 2014, and he received his full salary. Now Hardy is a Dallas Cowboy with an incentive-loaded deal that could pay him $13.1 million.

How do you explain this to a kindergartner who believes in right, wrong, equality, be nice to our friends, and punishment for misdeeds and mistakes?

As tempting as it is to lie, age-appropriate truth is the better alternative.

Not everyone is treated the same, and sometimes exceptions will be made for those who do the wrong thing. It doesn’t make it right, and realities such as this are disgusting. I love sports, but these stories just further prove our warped priorities and allowances for criminal behavior all in the name of entertainment.

There was minimal disgust over Hardy’s signing, and the reaction on social media was everything from “Hooray!” to “We got our pass rusher!”

One fan wrote me: “Dallas did its due diligence on his past, and still signed him. That should say something.”

On the contrary, it says nothing. The due diligence the Cowboys did was on their defense and their lack of a pass rusher.

They have done due diligence on Dimitrius Underwood, Ken Hamlin, Pacman Jones, Alonzo Spellman, Tank Johnson, Al Johnson, Josh Brent and on and on, and it never stops them.

Every NFL team deals with questionable guys, but when a proven pass rusher, at only age 26, is not re-signed for nothing is the reddest of red flags.

No one loves a red flag more than our Jerry. And no one loves a cheap deal more than our Stephen.

No need for Jerry Jones to spew some rhetoric that he is “sensitive” to the concerns of others, because we know he doesn’t care. For that matter, please don’t waste our time and trot out poor Cowboys life coach Calvin Hill as if he is going to somehow make a difference with these guys.

The age-appropriate truth here is that Garrett is no different from any other NFL coach. Character matters only when convenient, and the moment Hardy sacks the quarterback, we won’t care, either.

And I have no idea how to explain that to a kid.

Jerry, any suggestions?

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30 to 10 a.m. on 105.3 FM/“The Fan.”

Mac Engel, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @macengelprof and The Big Mac Blog

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