The Big Mac Blog

Police commissioner Goodell makes Cowboys’ signing of Hardy moot for ‘15

New Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy, pictured here when he was with the Carolina Panthers, was hit with a 10-game suspension for violating the NFL’s conduct policy stemming from a domestic violence charge.
New Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy, pictured here when he was with the Carolina Panthers, was hit with a 10-game suspension for violating the NFL’s conduct policy stemming from a domestic violence charge. AP

Police commissioner Goodell blew up the Dallas Cowboys’ attempt to grab one of the best pass rushers on the cheap. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended new Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy 10 games for his domestic violence dispute with a girlfriend.

We don’t say this much but good for Goodell. This had to happen. Somebody had to do something. This is now a post Ray Rice video world, and the league will use extreme prejudice on such rulings. At least for the time being.

Hardy will most certainly appeal, and most certainly lose. Right now the earliest Hardy will be able to rush QBs is on Thanksgiving against his old team, the Carolina Panthers.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones issued the following statement: “This suspension is something that we anticipated prior to Greg’s signing, and we respect the Commissioner’s ruling. Our organization understands the very serious nature of this matter. We will use our resources--work closely with Greg and with the league--to ensure a positive outcome.”

Losing Hardy, who before he stepped on the field was easily this team’s best pass rusher, almost completely negates this addition in a football sense. By the time he suits up he will have missed more than a year of playing NFL games. His last game was Week 1 of the 2014 season.

Under the agreement of the suspension, he can do everything but play games. Regardless, Hardy is not going to suit up on Thanksgiving and suddenly be the guy the Cowboys need to rush passers. This is going to take time.

This ruling now puts even more pressure on the Cowboys to address the one thing this team sorely lacked in 2014 - it had no proven rushers. Tyrone Crawford looks like he is an emerging player inside on the defensive line, and second-year player DeMarcus Lawrence could be a nice find, but there is no edge rusher on this team that scares opposing quarterbacks.

The Cowboys took a gamble, and this result was always a part of the risk. There was no way Goodell was not going to do anything against Hardy.

Hardy may have been able to buy off his accuser and avoid jail time, but the consequence on this action will ultimately be to lose a lot of money. It is the best Goodell could do.

On Feb. 9, prosecutors dropped the domestic violence charge against Hardy that a Charlotte judge convicted him of in 2014. He immediately appealed for a jury trial after that judge’s decision. Hardy’s accuser would not cooperate, and the two sides reached a civil settlement. Hardy gave her money.

Not long after the Cowboys signed Hardy in March to a one-year contract, the league reportedly sued the North Carolina attorney general for access to the evidence in the case. The league looked into this case looking for a reason to suspend Hardy, and specifically to make an example of him to any other player that violates the player conduct policy in this area.

Opponents of the ruling - aka delusional Cowboys fans who defend their team and just want a pass rusher - will say this is another example of Goodell reaching beyond normal power parameters. That if the state of North Carolina dropped the case, the NFL should as well.

The NFL is a private business and it has a collectively bargained an agreement with a union, which will allow it to enforce this penalty. It helps that the NFL Player’s Association is a spineless joke and can’t win anything.

The Cowboys took the PR risk to sign Hardy because they were desperate for his talents. Now they know they won’t have his talents until the season is more than half over because, as well all know, Greg Hardy had something coming.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @macengelprof

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