NFL will review court file as part of Hardy investigation

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Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy has avoided criminal penalties for domestic assault, due directly to the failure of his alleged victim to show up and testify before a jury.  He may not be quite as fortunate before the NFL’s in-house judicial system.

Via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the NFL says that outside investigator Lisa Friel will review Hardy’s court file as part of the effort to determine whether Hardy violated the personal conduct policy, in the absence of a conviction, guilty plea, or any other resolution imposing responsibility on Hardy.  The league office declined comment when PFT posed the specific question of whether the league will be requesting from Hardy a copy of the transcript from the 2014 bench trial at which the alleged victim showed up and testified.

Given the consequences of the league’s failure to ask Ray Rice for a copy of the notorious in-elevator video, it’s a given that the league will ask Hardy for a copy of the transcript.  Hardy’s lawyer may resist, especially since the transcript wasn’t generated by the court but by a court reporter hired by Hardy’s lawyer.  If Hardy’s lawyer resists, the message to Hardy needs to go like this:  “You won’t be playing until you produce the transcript.”

If/when (when) the league gets the transcript, the question becomes whether the transcript (or any other aspect of the court file) reveals one or more violations of the personal conduct policy by Hardy.  There’s a chance Hardy admitted to certain conduct that the league would deem to be a violation of the policy.  There’s a chance that the alleged victim accused Hardy of certain conduct, that he denied the accusation, and that the league will conclude that the alleged victim’s version is more accurate.

Then there’s the question of why the alleged victim didn’t show up to testify.  If, as has been reported, Hardy settled the alleged victim’s civil claims (i.e., paid her a significant amount of money), the NFL will be entitled to explore that issue and to consider whether the payment by Hardy indicates responsibility for something that would constitute a violation of the policy.

Either way, the sudden resolution of Hardy’s criminal case in a way that allowed him to walk doesn’t mean he’ll be waltzing right back to the NFL.  Before the Ray Rice video emerged, a first-time offender with no criminal consequence would get a slap on the wrist, at most.  In the new world of NFL justice, those factors become much less likely to shield a player from discipline.

28 responses to “NFL will review court file as part of Hardy investigation

  1. If the civil matter was settled confidentiality there is no one way the NFL can explore that matter further as it would void the confident of the case. It would then open Hardy open to more litigation from the “victim”.

  2. For the record … the NFL is a business. Much like GE or Time Warner. They have a perfect right to make business decisions. They are not a legal entity, and are not bound by rules of evidence or subject to all the various rights people possess in criminal or civil proceedings.

  3. Holier than Thou!

    NFL – court has dropped the case. End of matter.
    Allow him a free man in 2015 and award compensatory pick for Carolina!

  4. Let’s see now……not convicted of anything and lost a year of playing. Now the NFL is going to decide it is above the law and knows better than the justice system. They will definitely screw this up.

  5. The NFL as an employer better be careful not to overstep it bounds here. Worker rights is a massive issue here in the country and Hardy is under no obligation from the law to hand over anything that is not public record. He has his right to privacy just as you or me. When the NFL screw this one up because face it we all know they will maybe then Goodell will be fired.

  6. This is absolutely stupid. The NFL just makes this stuff up as it goes. And the NLFPA allows it to happen. Let the man play. I’m a Panthers fan and as much as I would like him to return to the Panthers, I doubt that will happen due to the management. I hope this gets resolved soon, but I doubt it will.

  7. This sounds like an example of the law double jeopardy, being punished for the same crime twice. Just does not seem right for the NFL to punish people for the same crime twice.

  8. In the view of Goodell, it’s not punishment because Hardy got paid. It’s okay that the team got punished by tying up 10% of their cap and it’s okay that the fans feel punished by the play of the defensive front for much of the year. Now we’re talking about stretching this out and hitting a team that signs him by requiring he be unavailable for a yet to be determined number of of games. It sure is a good thing this was just a misdemeanor not a felony. HEY ROGER! APPLY CONSISTENT LOGIC FOR ONCE IN THIS WHOLE MESS. Punish him if that’s what you feel is necessary. Your logic was that that he wasn’t punished since he got paid. Take money now and let him on the field for what ever team signs him. Quit punishiing everybody but him.

  9. Hardy will tell the league he doesn’t have a copy, that it’s in his attorney’s hands. The attorney will then explain that it was created by his transcriptionist as part of the case and is his work product and privileged, just as much as what an investigator he hired might have found or what Hardy told the attorney in confidence. The league can try to suspend Hardy for that but the NFLPA would pretty easily win a grievance over the matter since it hasn’t been collectively bargained.

  10. For the record … the NFL is a business. Much like GE or Time Warner. They are not bound by the law against double jeopardy.

  11. In theory you can definitely do something worthy of being disciplined at work (or even losing your job completely) that isn’t prosecutable as a crime. But in practice the NFL now has zero credibility and is bound to cause a mess of this.

  12. “Either way, the sudden resolution of Hardy’s criminal case in a way that allowed him to walk doesn’t mean he’ll be waltzing right back to the NFL.”

    Some people have a hard time understanding this, and some care about football more than victims.

    First of all, not guilty does NOT mean innocent. Secondly, when the alleged victim doesn’t show up in court, it could very well be she was paid off or worse by Hardy.

    Lastly, it’s not a right to play in the NFL, they have their own policy, just like other big companies.

  13. This is absolute BS. No other profession would allow such an intrustion. He was not found guilty of a crime and that should be the end of it. I don’t usually side on against the league but this is nothing but bowing to the pressure of a bunch of PSA’s and outside pressure.

  14. “He was not found guilty of a crime and that should be the end of it. ”

    For the record … the NFL is a business. Much like GE or Time Warner. And like any business they can fine an employee or even terminate him/her within the bounds of any pertinent labor agreements. There is no necessity to prove guilt in the legal sense.

  15. I am not going to share my opinion on what the league should do with Hardy because it’s irrelevant.

    What I will say is that those of you in the “this is ridiculous, the league can’t do this, and no other company would do this” crowd are either naive or just haven’t entered the adult work force yet. Many large coorparations do full criminal background checks and investigations into all of their employees, especially the ones set to make millions of dollars will being the face of the company.

    Grow up. Employees have rights but so don’t companies. And a company has the right to protect their assets against any behavior which may bring harm to the business.

  16. Case dismissed means something in most civilized republics. The man has been released of all charges by the United States judicial system.

    Only the NFL supersedes that system, so expect Goodell to try some Draconian punishment that defies all logical jurisprudence precedent.

    The muti-tiered system of discipline in the NFL is rivaled only by that in everyday life in the USA. There is a matrix of crime and punishment that allows the same crime to be capital or not even charged, depending who is accused.

  17. Although Hardy may in fact be guilty, I’m not sure how the NFL can possibly punish him without a court conviction? At this point, I’m sure Roger Goodell must have a wheel in his office that he spins to determine player punishments.

  18. nastyn8770 says:
    Feb 11, 2015 12:42 PM
    Although Hardy may in fact be guilty, I’m not sure how the NFL can possibly punish him without a court conviction?
    It happens all of the time in the private sector. Most people accused of rape or other serious crimes are usually let go.

  19. Trials, including Hardy’s trial, are open to the public. If the NFL wants a transcript, they should have sent a transcriptionist to the trial. Hardy is under no obligation to provide one to the league. Sounds like the NFL has failed again if they think a transcript of the testimony is important. Or they could just accept the legal system’s decision and drop the matter.

  20. Basically, Hardy will have to return 6 game checks to the league to make it a legitimate suspension. The owners need to get their money, too. Goodell’s reasoning should be hilarious.

  21. so for the record, Hardy choked,slapped and beat this woman. Hardy dragged this woman from room to room by her hair. Hardy lifted this woman over his head and tossed her onto a futon full of rifles and shotguns. Hardy lifted this woman and tossed her into a bathtub. Hardy slammed a commode lid on this woman’s arm. Hardy called 911 to get this woman out of his residence. Hardy was not arrested on the scene as was allowed to turn himself in. Hardy was charged with a misdemeanor because despite this horror story told by this woman she has no injuries that support her story. If she had any injuries you can believe that the DA would have accidentally leaked the photos to TMZ. Greg Hardy is no angel but evidence does not support this woman’s story, if it did the DA would have gone forward with the trail on Monday with or without her. BTW all of Hardy’s guns were legal in NC.

  22. joetoronto says:
    Feb 11, 2015 10:58 AM

    “First of all, not guilty does NOT mean innocent. Secondly, when the alleged victim doesn’t show up in court, it could very well be she was paid off or worse by Hardy.”


    Look man, I know it’s easy to think of Hardy as some woman beater and it’s much easier to take the woman’s side on things like this. But the truth is, she made up the meat of the story. I’m from Charlotte, have multiple good friends that worked with the chick at the time, and it’s a fact that the girl was out to get paid. yes they got in a shouting match, yes Greg has guns (what NFL player doesn’t), and yes he was mad because she was screwing on him with Nelly.. but Greg ended it, tried kicking her out of his place and when she knew he was for real and there was no chance of salvaging the relationship.. she knew the best thing for her situation to do instead of losing out completely on dating a rich athlete and getting nothing in return.. is to lie and say he beat her up. He didn’t throw her in the tub, he didn’t toss her on a bed full of guns. She ran from the cops when they showed up that night, she didn’t cooperate with prosecution whatsoever, and she was heard telling people, even before this all went down, that she was gonna get paid by Greg. best thing for you to do JoeToronto is to not speak about things you really and truly have no idea about.

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