Cowboys defensive Greg Hardy isn’t pleased with his current circumstances, but he has not lost the will to keep fighting to change them.
A source close to Hardy tells PFT that Hardy will challenge in court an arbitration ruling that imposes anything more than a two-game suspension against Hardy for violation the Personal Conduct Policy.
Under the version of the policy that was in place at the time Hardy allegedly engaged in domestic violence, the standard penalty for a first offense of that nature was a two-game suspension without pay. After the Ray Rice debacle embarrassed the league and nearly brought down a Commissioner, the league beefed up its approach to domestic violence.
Hardy and the NFL Players Association contend that the NFL applied new rules retroactively to Hardy, and that Hardy’s suspension should be only two games, based on the rules in place at the time the conduct occurred.
“Greg has every intention of taking whatever legal steps are necessary,” the source said. “Nothing has changed on our end.”
The comments come in direct response to a report from Jason Cole of Bleacher Report that Hardy is “losing some of his will to fight,” and that Hardy may accept a reduced suspension to six or eight games without pursuing any further legal action.
“Greg has nothing to lose by fighting,” the source said.
The source added that the 41-days-and-counting delay in the issuance of a decision from hearing officer Harold Henderson has only strengthened the resolve to fight — and that it possibly has strengthened the case against the league, under the argument that Henderson has dragged his feet in order to make it harder for Hardy to get a final decision from a federal court before Week One of the 2015 regular season.
Regardless of what Hardy did or didn’t do or whether he does or doesn’t “deserve” what he’s getting, Hardy faced no criminal liability because the alleged victim failed to show up for the jury trial, due reportedly to a civil settlement. In past years, there’s a good chance Hardy would have faced no scrutiny of any kind from the league. In this case, the 15-game paid suspension in 2014 and the proposed 10-game unpaid suspension in 2015 flow directly from the league’s belated efforts to take domestic violence more seriously.
Do we condone what Hardy allegedly did? Absolutely not. If guilty, he shouldn’t be able to write a check to avoid conviction and incarceration. But the NFL also shouldn’t be allowed to change its rules on the fly simply because the NFL has realized in the face of intense public pressure that the prior rules didn’t go far enough.
Hardy continues to believe that, and he continues to be willing to fight against an effort by the NFL to apply new rules to conduct that occurred months before the rules changed.