Hardy’s suspension raises questions about disciplinary process

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From the perspective of the criminal justice system, it never will be known whether Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy committed domestic violence, because the alleged victim didn’t show up for the jury trial that could have determined his guilt.  That happened because Hardy reportedly negotiated a settlement with Nicole Holder, which resulted in him paying an amount of money that she decided was sufficient to end any effort to put him in jail.

Even though Hardy was convicted by a judge last year, the conviction wouldn’t become final until Hardy was found to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of his peers.  He wasn’t, and so in the eyes of the law he didn’t do it.

In the eyes of his employer, that doesn’t matter.  And his employer has decided that he should miss a total of 25 games for his conduct, even though his conduct ultimately resulted in no criminal sanction of any kind.

The handling of Hardy’s case gives rise to several important questions, which easily can be overlooked when considering the specific allegations that were made against him.  It’s important to set aside the underlying facts and consider big-picture protections that extend to all players, innocent or guilty.  Otherwise, the NFL could steamroll players without regard to innocence or guilt, all in the name of protecting the shield.

Which is a fancy way of saying protecting the brand.  Which is a fancy way of saying stemming the tide of negative publicity.

Given the current temptation at 345 Park Avenue to choose P.R. over principle, Hardy’s case gives rise to three important questions.

1.  What standard of proof applies?

Apart from the heinous nature of Hardy’s conduct (if he truly did what he was accused of doing) is the process the NFL has used to determine his guilt and to punish him.  The government uses the very high reasonable-doubt, if-it-doesn’t-fit-you-must-acquit standard when determining whether a citizen will lose his or her liberty, but the NFL has no such limitation when deciding whether a player will lose money and/or the ability to play football.

The primary standards in the legal system are the high bar of proof beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal prosecutions, the lower test of clear and convincing evidence in certain civil cases, and the minimal, 51-49 barrier known as preponderance of the evidence, which applies in most lawsuits.

In the statement announcing Hardy’s 10-game suspension, the NFL simply said that the “decision is based on findings that are supported by credible corroborating evidence independent of Ms. Holder’s statements and testimony, such as testimony of other witnesses, medical and police reports, expert analyses, and photographs.”  But under what standard is the evidence deemed to be credible, especially with Nicole Holder not cooperating due to the settlement she received?

The idea that the NFL can simply decide what happened without any clear test of the evidence is a potential problem for other players — especially for players who didn’t do what they’re accused of doing.  A subjective belief by a prosecutor-turned-league-employee that “credible corroborating evidence” exists isn’t enough.  Every prosecutor who brings charges against a defendant believes that “credible corroborating evidence” exists; the challenge becomes finding a fair and objective way to determine whether the evidence really is credible.

Complicating matters in this specific context is the league’s P.R.-driven desire to be perceived as tough against domestic violence, in the aftermath of a scandal that nearly brought down a Commissioner.  When the person deciding whether “credible corroborating evidence” exists is working for a man who will never again be anything but “The Enforcer” regarding allegations of domestic violence, it’s safe to assume that the assessment of the evidence may err on the side of finding that it’s both credible and corroborating.

2.  Does Hardy’s punishment mesh with the league’s pre-Ray Rice policies?

Unable to apply the new domestic violence policy and penalties retroactively to conduct happening before the rules changed, the NFL contends Hardy’s 10-game penalty would have applied even under the prior approach.  And that’s hard to believe.

Under the prior approach, the NFL waited for the legal process to end.  Under the prior approach, a first-time offender who ultimately was not found legally responsible possibly would have received no punishment at all.  Under the prior approach, a first-time offender deemed to be legally responsible for domestic violence typically received a two-game suspension without pay.

The prior approach disappeared for good not after the Ray Rice elevator video emerged, but after the backlash against the league for the initial Ray Rice suspension of only two games.  At that point, the league changed the standard penalty to six games.

But Hardy’s behavior happened before any of those changes were made.  Setting aside what he did (assuming that he is indeed guilty), Hardy is entitled to be treated the way he would have been treated under the NFL’s existing approach to domestic violence at the time the behavior occurred.  That’s a basic notion of fairness that applies in many settings, to the benefit of everyone.

Rules can’t be changed after the fact to apply looking backward to things that already have happened.  Otherwise, folks can get away with making up the rules as they go.  Which is what many have repeatedly accused the NFL of doing over the past several months.

3.  Why don’t players get credit for time served?

The Rice video created a separate problem for Hardy, along with Adrian Peterson.  In the aftermath of the release of the video, the NFL decided that neither Hardy nor Peterson could suit up and play.  So the league and the union clumsily negotiated an arrangement pursuant to which the players didn’t play, but that they would be paid their usual salaries.

That seat-of-the-pants/get-the-heat-out-of-the-kitchen approach has since become the law of the land, with players accused of violent crimes now subject to paid leave until the cases are resolved, and then subject to unpaid leave thereafter.

It didn’t make sense during the chaos of September, and it makes even less sense now.  Players who miss games with pay and then miss games without pay face a double punishment.  Though paid for the games that happened before the charges are resolved, players primarily want to play football — a reality NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent conceded in a conversation last year with Peterson.

“You were away from the game,” Vincent told Peterson.  “You were not participating, even though it was a paid leave.   You were not participating.  And ballplayers know their shelf life.”

Why not give the player credit for the games missed during paid leave, and then impose a fine reflecting the number of games he ultimately was suspended after the case was resolved?  Hardy, for example, missed 15 games in 2014 with pay.  If the final punishment is 10 games, the NFL should fine him the equivalent of 10 of the game checks he received.

Instead, the league believes Hardy should miss 25 games for behavior that previously would have resulted in a two-game suspension.  And even though the NFL has since realized that a two-game suspension isn’t enough in situations of this nature, the standard penalty at the time of Hardy’s incident was two games.

It’s possible to raise questions like this without endorsing the behavior in which a player has engaged.  If Hardy did what he’s accused of doing, he should face serious scrutiny; indeed, he should be in jail.

But all players have rights, and it’s important to remember this at a time when the NFL may feel compelled to disregard those rights in the name of avoiding another P.R. nightmare that, next time around, might not end until the Commissioner’s tenure does.

106 responses to “Hardy’s suspension raises questions about disciplinary process

  1. Good work Florio. I retract all the bad things I’ve said about you. You aren’t anti-Dallas but a professional, unbiased reporter.

  2. I don’t buy it, I’m sorry. These players get all sorts of special treatment because they can earn their employers so much money. They get caught with drugs and they get multiple chances, I get caught once and I’m fired.

    They can get convicted, but not really convicted and people want to say he doesn’t deserve punishment by his employer for conduct away from the work place, I don’t buy that either. If I get my car towed because I’m acting like an idiot and it makes me miss work, I can get fired. It doesn’t matter if i parked in a red zone for baby food or to rob someone, conduct away from work should hold me accountable, just like them. I harbor no sympathy for these players and their off field problems affecting their work.

    Sure most of them are barely adults, but you gotta grow up sometime

  3. It’s a shame the timing of Goodell’s shoot-from-the-hip mentality had to extinguish the chances of Adrian breaking the all time rushing record. Adrian’s actions were idiotic, but he was our last hope.

  4. But under what standard is the evidence deemed to be credible, especially with Nicole Holder not cooperating due to the settlement she received?

    Under the standard : “such as testimony of other witnesses, medical and police reports, expert analyses, and photographs.”.

    And you forget that a judge found him guilty too, which means a judge found the evidence sufficient, credible and corroborating. At the APPEAL the charges were dismissed, NOT at trial.

    Quote: After nearly 11 hours of hearing testimony, Thorn-Tin ( the judge) told a somber Hardy that “the court is entirely convinced Hardy is guilty of assault on a female and communicating threats.”

  5. It seems weird to use law to argue employers policies, voted on by players, league, and union, but then make the policy sound silly in the interest of the laws.

    The NFL just wants to look good in this mess, they could care less how it plays out. Hook, line, and sinker.

  6. I like how the NFL acts like they equal to the Government of the United States, or local State Governments too.

    They don’t need a trial to suspend a dirtbag, women beater.

    Yet they allow this idiot to return to the game? He nearly killed his gf, paid her off AFTER he was found guilty by a judge.

    Seriously. Shameful.

  7. Well, now the tactics to gain a competitive advantage include accusing an opposing player of criminal activity. Enjoy, Belichik’s of the league…

  8. This is just what happens when we allow the angry mob to determine someone’s fate. Remember that the mob spewed more venom at Goodell for screwing up the Ray Rice punishment than they did at Ray Rice himself. Corporations need to stop being overly “Politically Correct” as a reaction to anything that happens.

  9. At jnovi86, you’re missing the point. While I agree that players get off too often for their crimes, allowing accusers to wield 25 game suspension power simply due to the allegation, will lead to abuse and Salem Witch trials all over again.

  10. guppies66 says:
    Apr 22, 2015 7:37 PM

    If this stands, then innocent players will be guilty simply by being accused.


    Hey women beater defender:

    A. He was found GUILTY by a court of law. He opted for a jury trial instead of the GUILTY verdict rendered by a judge.
    B. Reported victim dropped charges after receiving a financial settlement.


    You sir are a horrible person.

  11. With all of the lawyers involved with the league, whether representing the NFL, NFLPA and/or player’s agents, can someone please explain why these issues aren’t more clearly defined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that gets renegotiated every several years? How can it be that thousands of hours are spent negotiating but the commissioner is still allowed the latitude to make arbitrary and capricious decisions with only the vaguest guideline applying?

  12. The bottom line is Goodell doesn’t want to appaer weak on this issue. He knows NFLPA will have it overturned, however, he would rather leave any repercussions on a judge’s hands than his own. He’s had enough bad publicity.

  13. Receiving punishment from the NFL reminds me of the scene at the end of the Wizard of Oz except Roger Goodell is the man sitting behind the curtain pulling the levers of fire and smoke as he makes up nonsense gibberish to justify his actions.

  14. Hardy’s appeal will win out in court based solely on item #2 listed in the article. How the money shakes out is a different matter. It still seems like double punishment to suspend him with pay and then retroactively determine the fine.

  15. Nice legal argument. The problem is that NFL players have no property right to their richly rewarded employment. It is a privilege. The league and the franchises do have the right to protect their brand and reputation. Their employer can change employment policies when necessary, as long as there is compliance with the CBA. Tough nuggies.

  16. Well sure, of course this is too harsh. Any regular reader of pft knows unsubstantiated dui is a much more heinous offense than corroborated domestic violence.

  17. This 10 game suspension will not stand on an appeal with an arbitrator and or any court of law. The NFL is playing judge, jury and executioner. My guess is that the suspension will be cut in half.

  18. The punishments of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and now Greg Hardy have all raised questions about the league’s disciplinary process, so clearly there is something wrong with it.

  19. My only problem is he is still allowed to play. AP as well. These are disgusting POS’s who don’t deserve to be able to make the kind of money they are. If they weren’t big fast and strong they would both be spending the next ten years playing for the mean machine….. Anyone defending these awful people should be ashamed of themselves…

  20. I think there is some discrepancy in punishments from players to players because each case is different.

    As much as you would like a one-size-fits-all solution, it’s just not simple. As long as the NFL tries to apply individual punishments for similar, yet different circumstances, there will be endless articles such as these… The problem is that I don’t know of any other way to do it other than what seems reasonable on a case by case basis.

    In some cases, the evidence is nothing more than a claim than a woman. In others, there is physical evidence as well as a 911 call with audio, but ultimately the player could be released because of some technicality. Those 2 cases should be treated differently. You can’t necessarily write it in a specific policy why one case is much stronger than the other, but most people can see the difference and I’m okay with the NFL trying to use a common sense approach on a case by case basis.

    If anyone has a better way to write a policy where every possible scenario would be consistent and make sense to every day people, I’d love to hear it.

  21. Would the readers feel the same if they had “an accuser” and were either suspended or fired from their job simply because an accusation was horrific?

    Would they accept being called a “dirt bag” “scumbag” etc without any chance of due process or having your side heard equally?

    I don’t for an instant feel that Florio is defending violence or assault. Indeed this issue is larger than the NFL..we have become a society in which the media can influence the court of public opinion so that we now live in a reality of Presumed Guilt. While violence certainly destroys lives and shouldn’t be tolerated…neither should be false accusations driven by money. Both can equally destroy lives and neither have a place in our society.

  22. there’s a reason why you can have a trial by peers. to avoid one person (biased or not) from determining the fate of individuals or a group. that person may be correct or may be wrong. he didn’t agree with the judge’s view of guilt and requested a trial by jury. obviously whatever happened wasn’t egregious enough for Holder to send him to jail which she could of done AND won a civil suit. but that would’ve put the clamps on her groupie lifestyle and all of the entertainers and athletes that she partied with would have been revealed. I don’t know, if I was paid a few mil by the person who supposedly threatened to kill me, i’d probably cut bait too. therefor no witness, no crime.

  23. Please stop comparing your own personal work life and the consequences for your actions with those of an NFL player. You just don’t have the same workplace standards/ rules. These are professional athletes paid a kings ransom to help win games in which an owner makes hundreds of millions of dollars each year. In any line of work when you are not the owner but you are a top talent/ producer, the boss will do just about anything to keep you within the laws of society. Results matter.

  24. If you’re in jail, you can’t play. Otherwise you should be able to. Let them play and take all their money, leave them just enough to get by. Give the rest to the victims.

  25. All Goodell is doing is securing a lock out next time around. The NFL will play hard ball and in the end hurt the shield them selfs as baseball and basketball make up some ground on them.

  26. One underlying fact is that the prosecutor, with Holder not there, could not vouch for the truthfulness of her recorded statements. Seems the prosecutor didn’t bother comparing her statements to police, and what she said at trial because they didn’t have take a transcript at the trial. They got the defenses transcript about a month before they had to dismiss the case.

  27. The NFL should defer punishment for non-convicted charges to the NFLPA. Let them take the heat from the media and public.

  28. I hate the Panthers & Hardy is a turd. However, this is complete BS. Dock him 10 games checks & let him play.

    Btw, I hope all of you Saint haters during the bounty mockery are finally realizing how Roger oversteps his bounds. Be unbias in judgement. The Saints weren’t completely in the right, but not the monsters they were made out to be. Much like Hardy, the Pats for Deflategate, etc.

    You may revel in a team you hate getting into trouble, but understand the facts first. Don’t assume because you hate the player or team that they are guilty.

  29. Regardless, what raises questions is NFC East. Cowboys will be ok. Respect the Giants they’ll be ok. ‘Skins..we’ll see, however, could Chip and Jeffery be ushering in another 50 year run without a Superbowl win? Sure appears so.

  30. The investigation was led by Lisa Friel and T&M Protection Resources. Prior to joining the NFL staff two weeks ago, Friel was vice president of the sexual misconduct consulting and investigations division of T&M.
    So Lisa Friel and T&M Protection Resources were able to come to a conclusion that matched word for word what Nicole Holder testified to, without even interviewing her.
    It’s may be a good thing that the NFL came out with this 10-game suspension. Now that Greg Hardy is in a major media market hopefully this case will be scrutinized and the real facts will be discussed. If this is an example of the reign of terror Ms. Friel
    brings, I predict she will quietly resign by next year.

    I find it interesting that Ms. Friel is downplaying any physical injury to Ms. Holder and is instead pushing the allegded psychological damage done to her.
    In other words she had zero evidence that Hardy beat Holder but women’s intuition told her that Hardy must be guilty because he is a male.

  31. That is what the appeal process is for. The league looks good because they laid out a stiff punishment and now the a Players Association can knock it down. It’s a dog and pony show but necessary to keep the sensitive members of our society convinced that the NFL takes these matters very seriously.

  32. Through appeal my money is on a reduction to 6 games. It’s in black and white and when you are dealing with unions, that’s all that really matters!! He got paid to sit 15 games and that is moot point now. This league will be better off when someone is in charge that can actually enforce the rules that are written and make them as we go. I’ve noticed that there are so many do gooders and people who’s moral compass only points north on here that it’s almost disgusting. When the reality is that almost all of you break the law on a regular basis and you have the audacity to come on here spout off about these players as if they should be choir boys. Let me be the first to welcome you the club that is called REALITY.

  33. Nice article by Florio. He points out that the discipline is being done retroactively, which then how does this apply to the players that will be entering the NFL ? With players like Jameis Winston being drafted next week, shouldn’t he receive a similar punishment ? Even though, his case happened in college, but he is being sued by his accuser when he enters the NFL. So, that alone makes Winston subject to the discpline policy.

  34. “Due to your domestic violence, you’re in direct violation of our substance abuse policy. As such, I hereby find you guilty of racketeering and I sentence you to this here speeding ticket”

    -Roger Goodell

  35. Excellent, non bias article. One question I do have is if their is evidence or testimony of a settlement with women. As I understood it there was not yet everyone continues on as if that’s an established fact.

  36. Take for example the Florida State player who was suspended for selling a stolen item (unknown to him). All charges dropped and a former teammate arrested. Why not let the judicial process play itself out.

  37. Credit where credit’s due. Florio nailed this one. What Goodell and the NFL are doing is wrong, plain and simple. And they’re doing it, not got justice, but for money. To give the appearance of caring and leaving it up to someone else to be ‘the bad guy’ and appeal this ridiculous ruling, only to then be able to tell everyone ‘we tried’.

    They screwed up the Ray Ruce case so badly, and now everyone else has to pay for Goodell’s previous incompetence.

    This is a ruling about money, not justice.

  38. A paid vacation (what he got last year – not determined by the league) is not a punishment.

    If you get 6 games for domestic violence, 10 games for what he DID (he paid the victim not to pursue) is very appropriate

  39. The NFL is rapidly becoming a true dog and donkey show. With that being you don’t see NHL players (perceived by many as a bunch of goons) getting in so much trouble.

  40. Goodell is confused, he thinks that he can improve his credibility in the public by being tough on domestic violence. That might be true…if he actually understood that being overly strict is as bad as taking it too lightly. Clearly he is devoid of common sense.

  41. Just another example of Goodell believing he is GOD. It’s disgusting behavior from the Commissioner who believes he can do whatever he wants. I truly hope the players go to their owners so the owners will have no choice but to understand Goodell is not a good Commissioner. He’s unfair and still has no plan on how to fix this situation.

  42. Have football fans forgotten that the NFL hired four WOMEN to make these decisions? Does anyone expect that the wrath of four women hired specifically to advise the NFL on proper punishment policy would be rational?

  43. This very website has been steadfast in railing against the NFL for not seeking out the Ray Rice video and using that as part of its decision-making when it knew such a video existed.

    So this time, the NFL conducts a full investigation, it strikes a deal with the state of North Carolina to get the evidence presented at the original trial, and using that evidence, likely convinced of guilt as was the judge, the NFL made a judgment.

    Hardy is lucky not to be in jail. The NFL does not owe him an ounce of leeway. At a time when Josh Gordon’s career might be over because of marijuana and a DUI (not that DUIs aren’t terrible), beating the crap out of a woman and paying her off to avoid jail is certainly worthy of also ruining a guy’s career.

    But don’t worry, on appeal, I’m certain the the punishment will be reduced as there is a long history of such (another thing this website has pointed out). He’ll likely get credit for time served, pay a fine equal to 10 weeks’ salary, and still collect his gaudy roster bonuses for the games on which he appears on the active roster.

  44. You can’t apply a legal standard to an internal discipline issue. The elements of guilt for a specific statutory offense are spelled out in the law. You will almost never see that kind of specificity in company HR policies concerning employee discipline.

    For those that have a hard time understanding, it is similar in principle to this: Every parent has disciplined a child based solely on the the parent’s belief of what happened, with no legal due process and no identified standard of proof or even any actual evidence. Happens all the time and nobody (except the child) has a problem with it unless it gets out of hand.

    In corporate disciplinary issues the same principles apply but there are legal protections for potential discrimination and other issues. No disciplinary policy can anticipate all situations and therefor each case must be reviewed individually. Even no tolerance policies often cover situations which should not be applicable. Common sense must be used, but the protection of the company will always take precedence over an individual employee’s convenience.

  45. I see why this is such a big deal. He got paid last year while doing nothing. He avoided jail time by paying the victim off. He then gets reinstated, then officially suspended for 10 games. The shield doesnt lime suspending guys until after charges are officially matched to punishment. Since hardy got off without legal punishment, they can really suspend him. In my eyes its double jeopardy. Fine him ten game checks, but allow him to play. This case will never be fair because he bought off the victim. Honestly to me, paying off the victim to obstrucy justice should justify a new suspension though.

  46. please also remember that the state most certainly could have continued the charges in front of the jury. they have her testimony from the previous trial and did not need her cooperation to continue…they chose not to

  47. Hey NFL, I have cell phone video of Aaron Rogers hitting Olivia Munn. He needs to be put on the Commissioners except list and not allowed to play.

    I’ll mail it to, but be patient and wait (like you made the Vikings wait) as it might take some time to get to your…like until Jan 3rd 2016.

  48. I am a Cowboy fan and I am against the Cowboys signing Greg Hardy. That being said, I am beyond outraged at Roger Goodell’s punishment. This penalty disregards the guidelines of the CBA. I don’t like it, but those are the rules.

    Roger Goodell needs to be fired for cause for operating with bias. Where is the punishment for Ziggy Wilf who was convicted of fraud? Where is the punishment for Jimmy Haslem who settled a lawsuit by paying $90 million?

    Goodell’s job title needs to be changed to “President of the Owners Association” so he is the equivalent of a De Smith. There needs to be a “new” position of NFL Commissioner who is paid by the players’ union and the owners’ who is accountable to both parties.

  49. The NFL needs to be sued, and stripped of its non profit and monopoly status. They’ve gone way too far in punishing employees beyond what the court of law is doing.

  50. “Why not give the player credit for the games missed during paid leave, and then impose a fine reflecting the number of games he ultimately was suspended after the case was resolved?”

    This makes too much sense therefore the NFL won’t do it.

  51. This suspension is going to fail miserably. Goodell earned his money being the fall guy for stupid decisions – all the owners had to do was point at him and say “it wasn’t us” – now he’s learned to appoint an independent arbitrator and point the finger at him.

    Jerry Jones probably signed off on the scam before it happened.

  52. An underlying issue is the inability of the league and the union to
    agree on any issues. While many believe Hardy should be punished.
    There is a process with rights to all parties that need be respected.
    The league decision is consistent with its newly established
    ” Goodell Doctrine”. The Goodell Doctrine is primarily guided by
    arrogance and a belief that the Commisioner has all powers. It is a Doctrine that primarily operates under a system of economic power and imbalance. In short Goodell can do what he wants because the owners have the ability to buy their way out of all issues they desire.

    The last CBA lock out where the owners unilaterally opted out of
    a contract they agreed to under Commisiomer Tagliabue is an example. The recent concussion settlement with the union is another.
    At the end of the negotiations for the last CBA contract the owners included a clause that required the union to waive any and all
    causes of action known or unknown. The union with no leverage
    agreed only to find out the owners had colluded.
    In the recent concussion settlement you can be assured there will be
    a clause that requires both parties not to disclose any facts that the
    players may have discovered regarding the NFL ‘s knowledge of
    concussions and its effects.As well as engineering studies of helmet safety.
    The facts that would have been presented at trial will never see daylight because both parties reached a settllememt.
    While I do admit criminal issues and civil issues do differ, I’m still not sure how the NFL can buy their way out and Mr. Hardy cannot.
    Another issue that seems to have impacted the length of the suspension is the NFL’ s mishandling of it most recent suspensions.
    In recent months Commisoner Goodell has stated the last year was
    a humbling year for him and he has learned. This suspension
    indicates he will still act as he so desires.

  53. In NC if the prosecution had found her testimony credible they could have still gone forward even if she didn’t show up. This case fell apart early.

    Also he was found guilty before anyone looked at the trial transcript and noticed her testimony didn’t match.

    This needs to be included in the article, because it makes it look like Hardy paid a woman to cover up abuse, when really he paid her to stop an accusation. Two different things.

  54. Gosh – imagine what the NFL would do if a white, SB winning franchise QB was accused of violence, sexual violence even, by a woman. Or more than one woman?

    Oh, wait…

  55. im still wondering why he will miss more games and this is a bigger deal than other players who have killed people while drunk.

  56. As usual, Cowboys tried to pull a fast one for their sole benefit by use of dishonest means. Jerry and the Boys are the sleaziest team in America, period!

  57. People need to realize that the prosecution could have still gone after hardy even without the girlfriend. They determined they didn’t have evidence to proceed. What does that tell you?

    Hardy had charges dismissed under the old rules that’s no games. Regardless of your team or you think he did this or not you cant retroactively apply rules.

  58. Nicely done Florio. I think it will be 4-6 games.

    The proof issue – especially when the PROSECUTOR says the DEF has CREDIBILITY ISSUES is very significant.

    To bad Mara and the chicken Giants made sure their 2 games fell within the 1st 6 – must be skerrrrrrrrrrrrrrred!

  59. So Josh Gordon misses two years for smoking some weed and having some drinks yet Hardy is a “victim” because he was able to pay off the woman to keep her quiet? What a joke.

    It really sucks that that this great league is being destroyed by greedy owners that care only about money.

  60. Greg Hardy was convicted … At a bench trail … By a female judge in an election year whose platform was to crack down on domestic violence …

    Nicole Holder was a coke-addicted celebrity girlfriend who opted not to pursue a trial after she got what she ultimately wanted … money. If it was about an injustice, she would’ve pushed forward with the trail. Holder integrity = 0 …

    I also love how everyone conveniently forgets Hardy was the one who called 911 because the crazy, coked-out hooker assaulted him with a shoe …

    How all these realities of the case continue to be ignored so Hardy can be turned into a social pariah and prevented from going to work is beyond me … It’s a travesty.

    Where was this EXTREME punishment when Roethlisberger “allegedly” raped a woman in GA? An alleged rape is far worse than an alleged domestic violence scenario.

    One thing is clear in all this: The NFL is consistent when it comes to handing out inconsistent punishments.

  61. So Goodell gets crucified for jumping to conclusions & making a rash decision on the R Rice situation, then gets beat over the head by every sports writer with a law degree (Florio) for compiling evidence, all of the evidence, and coming to the conclusion that what he did was atrocious and needed to be punished for it. Hardy can’t pay the league off like he did his accuser to get out of legal issues but he still deserves punishment. 10 games may be extreme, but I agree with the shoot high & on appeal let it come down to what it should be at.

  62. As long as the NFL said it…whether it sticks or not is irrelevant. When this much money is involved its about revenue not justice. PR is the game, saving advertising dollars is the game. This won’t stand up to appeal and the NFLPA will look like the bad guys for defending Hardy. Win win for NFL and owners.

  63. Questions about disciplinary process? What process?
    Hardy got the same suspension as Josh Brent. The difference is Brent plea bargained down from felony charges resulting from the death of a teammate. Hardy had all MISDEMEANOR charges dropped that resulted from a mutual physical confrontation with an ex girlfriend/party girl. In all, Hardy now loses probably close to 10 % of his NFL career and at least $7 million. Debatable if that level of discipline is appropriate but I submit that if you feel it IS appropriate then Brent, Stallworth, Leornard Little and others never should have been allowed back on the field. Protect the shield? yeah right.

  64. I think you can break the personal conduct policy without breaking the law, but a win in an appeal should be treated as not guilty just like a win in the original trial. That’s the point of the justice system.

    My guess is the NFL will get sued and lose on some of these cases, but Hardy clearly broke the conduct policy and deserves to be suspended.

  65. Nicole Holder was so psychologically damaged that she is vacationing in Colorado, Atlanta and New York. She got what she wanted.

    And Goodell continues to be stupid

  66. The NFL is trying to capitalize on this too. They scheduled the Cowboys vs the Panthers as the 11th game for the Cowboys. First game back against his old team. I doubt that was a coincidence.

  67. How about if something happens with you, around you, to you that makes the league look bad you are done playing football. Nice and simple.

  68. The thing I find odd about the 10 game suspension is that the Cowboys 11th game is against Carolina on thanksgiving. This suspension sets up anticipation for Hardy returning for his first game against his old team. Seems to me Goodell is using this for ratings for that game. As much as I hate that he’s out for 10 games I actually almost hope Dallas doesn’t play him that game either to throw a wrench in Hoodell’s little ratings scheme.

  69. So as long as one has enough money to buy off any chance of prosecution, that’s OK.

    That’s what I see happened here. This, after a judge found him guilty. Everything else means nothing.

    He belongs in jail – no question in my mind at all.

  70. Facing league punishment absent conviction in a criminal court is nothing new. Roethlisberger was suspended six games and he was never even charged. Chad Johnson was cut within a day of being arrested. It happens.

  71. He wasn’t convicted of anything. The judges ruling was just an indictment saying there was enough evidence to go to trial. Then Hardy was allowed to ask for a jury by trial. The prosecutor still could have gone through with the trial but didn’t feel the evidence wasn’t strong enough to get a conviction without her testimony.

  72. It’s amazing how many stupid people are replying on this topic.

    Supporting a potential murderer? Way to go, your parents must be proud… Or just as stupid as you are.

  73. I’m not going to kid myself here. If Hardy had gone to NYG, NYJ, or NE, the suspension would have been 6-8 games. Goodell dislikes Dallas, I think because of Jerry Jones. There’s almost a power struggle it seems.
    And before anyone even tries to suggest the Cowboys receive favorable calls as some way of disproving Goodell’s dislike for Dallas, please keep in mind that the Cowboys were top 10 in penalties committed for 8 seasons. You can look this up and do your own research to prove that claim.

  74. I think we can all agree that what Hardy did is unacceptable. But what many people on this thread aren’t understanding is that if the NFL is allowed to handle Hardy’s situation like this, then what is stopping them from simply making rule changes whenever a player does something they deem unacceptable that doesn’t fall within their current set of rules.

  75. He’s lucky they didn’t ban him from ever playing in the NFL ever again.
    Pay your dues Greg Hardy and shut up.
    You can’t buy your way out this time knucklehead !

  76. Biggest issue I see is the double-punishment. By the league’s reasoning they could effectively ban a guy for life and as long as it was a paid suspension it wouldn’t count as any sort of punishment at all.

  77. Questions were raised, but one thing that was answered, is that Mark Davis now looks like a genius for allowing the Raiders to sign this guy.

    Maybe now the pathetically juvenile haircut jokes can come to an end.

    …but sadly the little children can’t help themselves.

  78. Question for greengoldandbold. Do you prefer onside kicks or two point conversions? lol

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