Wow, it was a rough Wednesday for the city of Dallas. Of course, there was the 24 hour period where the Rockets shoved the Mavericks to within a half step of falling into the NBA playoff canyon, and then the team essentially fired its point guard (for whom they traded three players, two draft picks, and a nearly $13 million trade exception). That was fun.
Of course, you had to know that Jerry Jones wasn't going to let Mark Cuban have all of the fun, right? No way. The Cowboys had to get in on some of the fun.
And so it was that on Wednesday, the newest Dallas Cowboy, defensive end and noted domestic abuser Greg Hardy was slapped with a 10 game suspension by the NFL for the physical abuse of his girlfriend last year when Hardy was a member of the Carolina Panthers.
The details of the NFL's two month investigation confirm some pretty shocking details of the incident between Hardy and his then girlfriend Nicole Holder. From the Twitter feed of Yahoo! Sports' Rand Getlin:
The NFL's investigation concluded Hardy used physical force against Nicole Holder in at least four instances. pic.twitter.com/25KMlORLDY
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) April 22, 2015
Hardy signed an incentive laden one year deal with the Cowboys in March, a deal of which this suspension curtails the overall potential income significantly, fro a ceiling of nearly $13 million to now closer to $3.5 million. Of course, Hardy spent most of the 2014 season on the Commissioner's Exempt List, which allowed him to continue to get paid his roughly $13 million salary while awaiting punishment. Hardy is expected to appeal Roger Goodell's decision, but if the suspension holds up, his first game as a Cowboy will actually be against his old Carolina teammates on Thanksgiving Day.
To reset the timeline of this incident, Hardy was found guilty last July of assaulting and threatening to kill Holder. He was sentenced to a 60-day suspended sentence and 18 months' probation on misdemeanor charges. Hardy then appealed the judge's ruling in favor of a jury trial, however, the case was curiously dismissed in February when Holder chose not to cooperate with authorities after receiving a settlement from Hardy. (Not coincidentally, about the time Hardy's case was being dropped, Holder's Instagram looked like she had just won the Showcase Showdown on The Price Is Right.)
For their part, the Cowboys and Jerry Jones are pretty much like "Hey man, we knew this was coming....it's aaaaallll gooood." Here is Jones' statement yesterday:
"This suspension is something that we anticipated prior to Greg's signing, and we respect the commissioner's ruling,'' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday in a statement. "Our organization understands the very serious nature of this matter. We will use our resources -- work closely with Greg and with the league -- to ensure a positive outcome.''
The league arrived at its conclusion after nearly two months of investigation, a process that included interviews with Hardy, unsuccessful attempts to interview Holder, and a mountain of visual evidence of the scars and bruises left behind by hardy's attack. The old conduct policy would've yielded a two game suspension, the new conduct policy dictates a six game suspension, so there is much debate over the ten game length of Hardy's suspension.
Hardy will appeal the suspension and has a good chance of successfully overturning the length of the banishment. Part of the extended duration of Hardy's suspension may have to do with what the league perceived to be a lack of cooperation from the player:
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Importantly, the NFL's investigation also concluded that Hardy failed to provide complete and accurate information to NFL investigators.
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) April 22, 2015
For now, the Cowboys must sit and watch as their marquee offseason hangs in the balance, and if and when he comes back, they must hope that whatever they do get out of Hardy is worth the public relations hit they're taking for how proudly they've aligned themselves with someone who has no problem hip-tossing a woman onto a futon covered with military-level arms.
Solid week, Dallas.