The National Football League’s suspension process should now just be a game of darts - whatever number NFL boss Roger Goodell hits with his special “Suspension Dart,” that is the number of games the player in question will miss.
How the NFL decided that Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy would be suspended 10 games for his involvement in a domestic violence dispute with an ex-girlfriend was perplexing. So perplexing that an arbitrator decided it was excessive; today, an arbitrator ruled that Jardy will have to miss just four games.
This should go over really well with women’s right’s groups. And if New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ends up serving more than four games for his involvement in Deflategate, Goodell may want to go move to Halifax for a month or two.
There is a chance that Hardy could take this case to federal court to have the suspension further reduced; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson did that and had his suspension related to child-abuse completely thrown out.
Friday’s decision was a coup for Hardy and the Cowboys, a huge win for double standards, and another defeat for everybody else. Greg Hardy was involved in a serious domestic violence case that his wealth allowed him to buy off any real potential punishment. If he didn’t have money, his butt would be in jail. The end.
The NFL is a joke, and despite a few expensive PR commercials with players nervously looking at the camera implying a difficult discussion the league continues to enable an often sickening double standard. The age-old message of “Just play sports” not only endures, but thrives. Whatever slim chance that Hardy and the Cowboys were going to use his addition to the team as a “teaching lesson” for the rest of us is gone.
There will be no lesson in this saga. There will be no “great opportunity” here to use Greg Hardy as a spokesperson, or example, of how to take such a horrible ordeal that is domestic violence and change from it.
Remember when Cowboys’ president of brand marketing, Charlotte Jones Anderson, passionately spoke about the addition of Hardy as an opportunity to make a positive impact on the issue of domestic violence? Funny how we have not heard a thing about such ambitious plans since then.
Hardy obviously wants no part of any of such initiatives, and the Cowboys are powerless to make him. Or they don’t care to try. Give it enough time, they won’t care, either ... provided he is a good football player.
They don’t care because the lesson here is just kill quarterbacks and all else will be forgiven. You don’t care either. In issues such as this you don’t care until it hits your house, literally.
Cowboys supporters will cry “free market”, but really what they want is a clear path for a good player to play for their favorite team. If this guy was playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, he should “sit 10 games.”
Friday’s decision should be a shocker, but given the difficult legal nature of the case it’s not entirely a surprise. As is often the case of domestic violence, the facts are often murky and it comes down to a case of he said, she said.
Whatever the arbitrator saw, he obviously thought the NFL over-reached on the 10-game suspension because it came up with a “domestic violence” clause in the agreement between the player’s union and the league after Hardy’s infraction.
It doesn’t mean Hardy did not do what was charged. It doesn’t mean he did. What it does mean is that an arbitrator thought the league’s legal move was excessive, and Hardy only has to miss four games ... for now.
All that “teachable moment” stuff? Here is the lesson: Kill quarterbacks.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760