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Greg Hardy’s “Will Play Football For Money” campaign a failure

Dallas Cowboys free agent defensive end Greg Hardy did himself no favors in his recent interview with ESPN.
Dallas Cowboys free agent defensive end Greg Hardy did himself no favors in his recent interview with ESPN. Star-Telegram

At the behest of his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, Dallas Cowboys free agent Greg Hardy did a sit down interview with ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter so maybe an NFL team will give him a contract. It neither helped nor hurt.

On Monday, Hardy addressed the 2014 criminal charges of domestic violence of assaulting his ex-girlfriend with Schefter. In the process Hardy did nothing to help his case that he is worthy of another contract with a team.

Hardy needs a real PR person to work with him and not an agent with too many clients.

Hardy’s lawyers have advised him not to admit to a thing, which Hardy has followed like a good client should. There is, however, a way to handle this without looking like an unrepentant liar, which he has failed miserably.

Hardy told Schefter, “I’ve never put my hand on any woman … in my whole entire life. No sir. That’s just not how we’re raised. As you can tell, like I said again, it’s the Bible belt. It’s just something that’s, I wouldn’t even say frowned upon, just something that’s nonexistent in most southern homes.”

If you are raised in the south with a Christian upbringing it means domestic violence is not an issue. Not sure the statistics will support that.

Schefter then asked Hardy to explain the police photographs of the woman with several bruises on her body.

“I will stop you there and say that I didn’t say that I didn’t do anything wrong,” Hardy said. “That situation occurred and that situation was handled … saying that I did nothing wrong is a stretch but saying I am innocent is correct.”

Crazy don’t break.

He added: “Pictures are pictures, and they can be made to look like whatever they want to. I didn't say I didn't do anything wrong. That situation occurred and that situation was handled, but as a man you can't avoid situations that aren't your fault or are your fault.”

Wait ... huh? What does that even mean - “As a man you can’t avoid situations that aren’t your fault or are your fault.”

Schefter appeared on The Dan Patrick Show and was asked about his thoughts on Hardy.

“I went in with the idea that this guy is a monster; I came out of there with a very different feeling,” Schefter told Patrick. "This is a guy who has managed to say the wrong things at the wrong time. I found him to be a changed kind of guy.”

With all due respect to Schefter, he is likely not the best person to ask about the whole of Hardy. Schefter does not attend games, so he is not going into locker rooms. He breaks news by an extensive list of contacts and tirelessly working the phones.

In 31 combined games in 2012 and ‘13, Greg Hardy had 26 sacks. In 13 combined games in ‘14 and ‘15, he had a combined seven sacks.

Hardy does not come across as a monster in interviews. He can be quite funny but he’s also a guy who is understandably leery of a media that has used him as an example for about two years.

The only reason Hardy did this interview is because he needs a contract. All of the NFL’s big name free agents have signed contracts by now and he is still out there on the street.

After his uneven season with the Cowboys in ’15, after which even Jerry Jones admitted The Kraken was The Distraction, Hardy needs to score more PR points than this to impress an NFL team.

At the Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine or NFL Pro Days at bigger campuses, scouts and assistant coaches gossip. Bet big that Hardy’s warts were bantered about among personnel people. Those conversations construct a reputation, and Greg Hardy has a reputation beyond just the domestic violence charge.

The rap on Hardy was that he could be late, was sometimes hard to find and had a tendency to stay out a bit past bed time ... by several hours.

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has moved on from Greg Hardy, but Jerry Jones has not which means you can’t rule out a Hardy return. Jerry loves a deal and Hardy will be gladly accept a nothing contract.

Hardy signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys last year because it was all he could get and he was betting on himself. The plan has not worked. If it did, he would not be poorly pandering to ESPN cameras for a gig.

Even though Hardy is 27, he is not the player he was with Carolina when he was the second most dominant defensive end behind J.J. Watt.

Hardy needs to express contrition, an eagerness to move on and to ask not to be judged by the worst moment in his life. That starts with rhetoric and then action; all he has to do is not get in trouble. He’s done neither.

Hardy should follow the Ray Rice PR Plan but he’s not because he either has too much pride, or is not that smart. Rice showed contrition and remorse whereas Hardy has not. That’s what people want to hear, even if it’s BS.

In interviews, Hardy is well spoken and he can be engaging. He also can be surely, intimidating and moody. He must act like a man who knows he is under tremendous scrutiny but rather he acts like a man who does not get it.

The chat with Schefter shows Hardy being well spoken and obtuse, often in the same sentence.

He says he did not hit his ex-girlfriend but he admits to doing something wrong. So he yelled at her?

The North Carolina legal system handled the case and a settlement was reached. However sick the result makes you an agreement between the two parties was made and that is their business. He also deserves a chance to move on and to evolve.

What he has not done effectively enough is demonstrate that he has indeed evolved, which is why he is out of a job.

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