The Dallas Cowboys had suffered a brutal defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday (November 8). However, fans and followers of the NFL believe that the Tony Romo squad already incurred a heavier loss even before the regular season started. It could be recalled that Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy had been repeatedly slammed by the public due to the domestic violence case filed against him. Although the legal battle saw Hardy walk away as a free man as well as have the allegation expunged from his record, some members of the football community remain aghast at his actions and the decision of the Dallas Cowboys to keep him as an active member of their roster.
"I think everybody was cognizant of that [strong] feeling [towards Hardy]," shared Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly in an interview with 94WIP Morning Show via CBS Local Philadelphia. While the NFL had been criticized for the way it has been handling these kinds of cases, Kelly believes that these allegations and wrongdoings are personal to the players - that is, the culture in the league has nothing to do with the manner by which the NFL stars handle their relationships. The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Sam Bradford squad 33-27.
Hardy had been embroiled in a legal drama before his entry to the Dallas Cowboys roster. It was in May 2014, the period the defensive end was still with the Carolina Panthers, when the domestic abuse case against Hardy was instigated. It was later revealed that Hardy had been accused of physically abusing his then girlfriend, cocktail waitress Nicole Holder. The victim disclosed that the football star lifted, then threw her into a bathtub portion of the bathroom. Hardy then allegedly issued threats of killing her as he attempted to break her arms and choke her. The Dallas Cowboys star then reportedly dragged Holder by the hair across the residence and threw her on a futon covered with firearms including AK-47 guns.
Upon investigation, the NFL commission decided to suspend Hardy for ten games this season. This penalty had been later on reduced to four games. Hardy's case was also dismissed in court due to the failure of Holder to appear for the legal proceedings. Sources claim that both parties settled the issue out of court. Hardy then had the accusations expunged from his record. A day following the news that Hardy was already a free man, pictures of Holder and her bruised body surfaced - an event that further fueled the animosity of the public against Hardy.
Apart from Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles tackle Lane Johnson expressed is vehement disapproval of Hardy's presence in the games about the domestic abuse issues not only verbally but also physically. He said via Philadelphia Daily News, "Anytime I got a chance to put a little extra mustard on a block, I tried. He wasn't all that emotional in the game. I don't know if the stuff got to him on the news, but he seemed out of it a little bit."
Jason Kelce, a lineman from the Philadelphia Eagles roster, shared his sentiments on the matter as well. He said, "I'm glad he didn't have a good day. It's a joke a guy like that can play this quickly."
For their part, the Dallas Cowboys opted to stand behind Hardy. Despite the incessant clamor for Jerry Jones to trade Hardy or at least deter him from playing games this NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys owner remains loyal to his star player.
"While we did not have access to the photos that became public today, we were and are aware of the serious nature of this incident," said Jones in the official statement of the Dallas Cowboys sent to NFL correspondent Ian Rapoport. The Dallas Cowboys owner added, "We as an organization take this very seriously. We do not condone domestic violence. We entered into the agreement with Greg fully understanding that there would be scrutiny and criticism. We have given Greg a second chance. He is a member of our team and someone who is grateful for the opportunity he has been given to move forward with his life and his career."
With the increasing number of NFL stars expressing their dismay over the issue, it remains to be seen if the rest of the Dallas Cowboys players will speak out for Hardy.