When the Cowboys signed defensive end Greg Hardy to a one-year contract back in March, team vice president Charlotte Jones Anderson said that this was a chance to raise awareness about the issues surrounding violence in the home.
On Monday, there was a luncheon. The first lady, Gene Jones, and Charlotte Jones Anderson held a team-sponsored event to raise awareness and support for their involvement in anti-domestic violence programs, specifically to raise awareness for the new long-term shelter, The Gatehouse, for abused women and their children in Grapevine.
You are not going to believe this, but the Jones men were not present. Neither was Greg Hardy.
As expected, any chance the Hardy addition could be a learning tool about domestic violence beyond a luncheon died before it started. This remains about hoping nothing else bad happens, and the team will gladly absorb the negative PR they are currently “enjoying” in return for more sacks, and a few more wins.
Since the team signed Hardy, what I learned about domestic violence via the Cowboys has come from Jason Witten, the guy whose childhood was damaged from this very issue. He has been the one to come out to talk about how it affected his life, and he is the player raising awareness about this issue.
Witten has bailed out tackles, running backs, coaches and quarterbacks. His work in this area is a nice distraction since the team signed Hardy. (What is this team going to do when it no longer has Witten to offer to the community as Mr. Good Guy?)
This “Hardy Experiment” has been such a smashing success that team VP Stephen Jones and team president Jerry Jones are in total agreement that they would like to give Hardy an extension when his deal expires after the season.
While the Cowboys can count on a few more quarterback hurries and maybe a few forced fumbles from Hardy, they should put in ear plugs for the deserved bad press this guy will generate until he is no longer on the roster.
On Sunday at the Meadowlands, there was Law and Order: SVU actress Mariska Hargitay making an effort to raise awareness about domestic violence as Hardy was showing his leadership skills by throwing a fit on the sidelines.
On Tuesday night, there was New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall, himself no stranger to fits or emotional tantrums, calling out Hardy.
“When I look at Greg and how he’s handled himself, on the field and in the locker room, I see a guy that is not aware,” Marshall said on Showtime’s Inside the NFL. “He doesn’t understand the magnitude of what happened last year, what he did and the atmosphere surrounding the NFL. I don’t think that he gets it. I don’t think that he learned his lesson. And he really needs to look himself in the mirror and ask himself, ‘What type of person do I want to be?’ ”
Chances are good he has done that, and he’s OK with it.
From a PR standpoint, the Cowboys could hold a luncheon every day and raise countless dollars and it will never matter because they signed Hardy. To some (all?), these efforts are seen as the ultimate hypocrisy.
When the team signed him on March 19, the first member of the Cowboys’ organization to speak on it was Charlotte Jones Anderson. She spoke passionately, eloquently to the Dallas Morning News and said this would be about rehab, and serve as a positive note about learning and moving forward.
By all accounts, Hardy has participated in zero of the above. He has does none of it because he doesn’t have to do any of it. Exactly who is going to make him?
Whatever you think of Hardy’s domestic-violence case and how it was handled, that is how our courts work. Both he and his ex-girlfriend came to an agreement, a settlement reportedly was made, and the prosecutor was neutered. It was perfectly legal.
I am sure the well-paid lawyer told Hardy to say nothing about the matter because to do so only keeps the issue from fading away. It won’t be fading any ime soon since the owner himself said he would like to give Hardy an extension, and the player can’t do anything but help draw attention to himself.
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is coming to a close, and, technically, the Dallas Cowboys did their part.
Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.