Greg Hardy Objectifying Gisele Is Roger Goodell’s NFL in a Nutshell
If a federal judge upheld Tom Brady’s suspension for being “at least generally aware” of some under-inflated footballs, the Patriots quarterback would be sitting on the sidelines this week while Dallas Cowboys defensive end and convicted woman-beater Greg Hardy plays. This is Roger Goodell’s NFL.
To refresh your memory, Hardy was placed on the league’s exempt list last September after a North Carolina judge found him guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. According to law enforcement, Hardy threw Nicole Holder onto a couch littered with assault rifles and threatened to kill her. The case was dismissed when Holder failed to make herself available for the subsequent jury trial. Prosecutors say Hardy paid her off.
The league later suspended Hardy for 10 games this season, though an arbitrator whittled it down to four. Four games, in case you’ve forgotten, is the number games Brady was set to miss for his alleged role in Deflategate. (The Patriots were on a bye last week, so Brady wouldn’t have been eligible to return until next week’s matchup against the Colts.)
You would think Hardy would’ve showed even a shred of remorse when he spoke to reporters this week for the first time since his domestic abuse case. Instead, Hardy fawned over Brady’s supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen, before saying he’d come at the Patriots “guns blazing” Sunday—a curious choice of words from the man accused of throwing a woman onto a sofa covered in assault weapons.
Greg Hardy: “I love seeing Tom Brady. You seen his wife? I hope she comes to the game. I hope her sister comes to the game…”
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 6, 2015
Predictably, Brady refused to bite on the troll-bait, telling reporters Wednesday: “I really don’t care about his personal feelings.”
It’s no surprise that Hardy is back in the NFL in spite of all the heinous things he’s accused of—he is, after all, one of the best defensive linemen in football. The Cowboys inked Hardy to a one-year, incentive-filled contract this offseason fully aware of all the bad PR he would bring along with him. Evidently, owner Jerry Jones is willing to carry Hardy’s baggage, so long as Hardy helps carry “America’s Team” to Santa Clara come February.
Talent, not character, determines whether a player lands a spot on an NFL roster. That’s nothing new. But it’s worth noting the hypocrisy of a league whose commissioner spent the entire offseason spearheading a multimillion-dollar witch hunt over deflated footballs while an alleged domestic-abuser like Hardy is free to chase down opposing QBs—and objectify their wives.
At the league’s quarterly owners meetings in New York Wednesday, Goodell sidestepped a question from the Globe‘s Ben Volin about the league’s seemingly futile appeal of Judge Richard Berman’s decision to vacate Brady’s suspension. “Protecting the integrity of the game is not something we’re going to compromise,” the commissioner replied.
Many words come to mind when you think about the NFL’s quixotic mission to levy a suspension on Brady the same length as Hardy’s. “Integrity” sure as hell isn’t one of them.