CBS Analyst Phil Simms Appears to Be a Big Fan of Greg Hardy
Cowboys defensive end and convicted woman-beater Greg Hardy received a lot of criticism this week for objectifying Tom Brady’s wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, prior to the Patriots’ win in Dallas Sunday. That is, except from CBS’s lead NFL analyst Phil Simms.
Hardy spoke to reporters for the first time last week since serving a four-game suspension for alleged domestic violence, and said that he “loves seeing” Brady’s wife.
His comments about Gisele—inappropriate to begin with—are especially repugnant when you take into account the details of his domestic violence arrest. According to law enforcement, Hardy threw alleged victim Nicole Holder onto a couch littered with assault rifles and threatened to kill her.
Sunday was Hardy’s first day back following suspension, and Simms’ partner, Jim Nantz, brought up Hardy’s remarks early in the first quarter, calling them “absolutely outrageous” and “unrepentant.”
When given an opportunity to follow up, Simms defended the Cowboys for signing Hardy and started rambling about his ability as a football player.
“Here’s the point, Jim: everybody deserves a second chance,” Simms said. “I understand all of that. But if he wasn’t borderline—I mean, he can be a great player in the NFL. Would he still be out there if he wasn’t such a dynamic player? Because make no mistake about it, Greg Hardy—[if] this team is healthy—is good enough to turn this team into a Super Bowl contender. I think that’s how good he is.”
Simms’ decision to bypass admonishing Hardy, and jump right to praising him as a pass-rusher, was curious and tone-deaf. Rebuking Hardy’s comments for a couple of moments should’ve been at the top of Simms’ agenda, especially on a day when countless players and fans inside AT&T Stadium were sporting pink paraphernalia in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Phil Simms: “[Greg Hardy’s] presence on the field in the first half was great.” Agree to disagree.
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 11, 2015
Amazingly, Simms’ over-the-top lauding of Hardy may not have been the most embarrassing portion of CBS’s football coverage Sunday. Former head coach Bill Cowher interviewed Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and didn’t even ask him about his peculiar defense of Hardy from last week. Instead, Cowher extolled Jones as someone who likes to give others second chances, and asked him how he “balances that” with Hardy’s controversial statements. Jones said he takes domestic violence seriously, and that was that. There was no followup.
Not all NFL pundits sidestepped Hardy’s history. FOX analyst Terry Bradshaw blasted both Hardy and Jones Sunday, saying he hopes domestic abusers one day won’t have a place in the league.
It would’ve been nice if more of that commentary found its way onto the CBS airwaves Sunday, since they were broadcasting Hardy’s return. But considering CBS president Les Moonves was shown during the telecast enjoying the game from Jones’s box, its omission wasn’t surprising.