In May, Carolina Panthers DE Greg Hardy was accused of beating his girlfriend Nicole. Hardy was tried and convicted but has currently begun the appeal process. The Panthers had allowed Hardy to participate in practice and games, but with the latest cases involving ex-Ravens running back Ray Rice, and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson pushing personal conduct into the spotlight, looks like the Panthers will follow the lead set by the Vikings late Tuesday evening.
Hardy has agreed to be placed on the Commissioners exempt list, which is effectively suspended with pay, until his legal issues have been resolved. Hardy will be allowed at the team’s facilities – I assume so that he can keep in shape. This is the same course of action the Vikings took late Tuesday night in their situation with Peterson.
Hardy will receive the jury trial after being convicted by a district judge on counts of assault on a female and communicating threats. Hardy’s arrest warrant and testimony at his preliminary trial state the defensive end is accused of hitting, throwing, and strangling girlfriend Nicole Holder, slamming her into the floor and into a bath tub.
Of course there are still some who are up in arms about this decision, considering it paid vacation. What the NFL and their executives have to realize, some of the public won’t be happy no matter what move is made. That’s why it’s important to get a policy in place, make a plan that allows for an independent appeal – yes, even though the collective bargaining agreement says the Commissioner has the final word. We see how well that’s worked out – and bring consistency back into the mix. Being reactionary doesn’t seem consistent with being a leader.
The NFL above all else is in the entertainment business. The incidents that have come up in the past week are also taking place in corporate America, your local fast food establishment or grocery store. While I absolutely feel action should be taken, I wonder if the NFL is being made the face of a situation that is really an issue of society. Of the 700 plus arrests in the NFL since 2002, 75 have been for domestic violence. There are over 2000 players in the L. That’s less than 8% of the arrests, it means that a lot of good men are being cast in a negative light for the actions of a few.
While the NFL’s handling of these last few cases has been a comedy of errors. Now that they are “getting it right,” does that make “the people” feel more at ease?