October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the NFL, during which players wear pink accoutrements and the NFL shop sells extra pink crap under the guise of raising awareness for breast cancer in lieu of actual money. It’s a perfect analogy to how the NFL treats domestic violence, an issue arguably closer to the hearts of women: Paying it lip service without any actual substance to back it up.
How else to explain the continued presence of Greg Hardy in the NFL? His 10-game suspension, already inexplicably reduced to four upon appeal, is now over, and he is preparing to suit up for the Dallas Cowboys for the first time on Sunday. That suspension was for throwing his girlfriend down onto a pile of automatic weapons, dragging her through the house and choking her neck enough to leave marks. He was convicted of assault in a court of law, before appealing that decision, paying off the victim to disappear, and having his conviction overturned when the prosecution couldn’t find her to testify.
There’s little dispute that Hardy assaulted a woman, but the lack of a security video apparently spared him the nationwide shaming that Ray Rice, still unsigned, went through. Rice has been contrite about his own violence, but Hardy has very much gone the other way, going so far as to objectify women in his first public comments since he was unofficially suspended (with pay) by the NFL last year.
Hardy called his time away from the league last year “the most awesome period of my life.” He said not one word about trying to become a better person, and his message to those who aren’t happy he’s back in uniform was a kiss-off:
“God bless you,” he said. “God bless you is the message.”
Asked if he understood the searing criticism he’s received, asked if he got it, Hardy replied, “You get God, right? It’s like an all-inclusive thing, you know what I mean? God Bless you, too.
Remember, apologetic Ray Rice is not in the league and this man is. Rice plays one of the more replaceable positions, and is older than Hardy, who plays one of the most premium positions. That’s the reason why the Cowboys are willing to deal with the all-important “distraction” of Hardy’s presence on the roster and no team is willing to do the same with Rice. Honestly, Hardy’s comments are downright chilling, when you consider that he’s not even on parole or monitoring, and doesn’t seem to think he’s done anything wrong. He was paid for his time off last season and loved it. He has been encouraged and enabled to continue his pattern of behavior, which includes violence against women. I mean, look to this crap:
What he learned most about himself through the ordeal, Hardy said, was that he’s a “really good pass rusher when I put my mind to it.” His central concerns now, he said, are winning and getting sacks, adding that, “I’m really good at that.”
Hardy is acting as if him playing football is the only thing we need to be concerned about, daring the NFL and the Cowboys to do anything about it. They won’t, because as Hardy said, he’s a really good pass rusher.
Ray Rice isn’t a martyr, nor does he deserve your sympathy. But Greg Hardy is a downright menace, and the NFL, clad all in pink, is content to employ him and watch as he displays warning signs that he will hurt women again. Just consider this your reminder that the NFL doesn’t care about women on anything more than a superficial level, or if that’s not your thing, at least more ammunition to root against the Dallas Cowboys.