The long wait for arbitrator Harold Henderson’s ruling on Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy’s appeal is over.
Henderson has upheld the suspension originally handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, but Hardy’s ban has been slashed from 10 games down to four. Hardy was suspended as a result of his arrest last year on charges of domestic violence. He was convicted of the charges in a bench trial, but exercised his right to have a jury trial and the charges were dismissed when Hardy’s ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder failed to appear.
The question now for Hardy, who was also inactive for 15 games last season while on the Commissioner’s exempt list, is whether he will pursue a further reduction in court. Hardy and the NFLPA contend that the NFL retroactively applied new rules governing domestic violence adopted after Hardy’s arrest, with the two-game suspension originally given to former Ravens running back Ray Rice standing as an example of the way discipline was meted out before that suspension touched off heavy criticism that sent the NFL down the road to making changes to the system.
Hardy’s contract with the Cowboys calls for him to be paid $578,125 per game when he is active. That makes Friday’s decision a lucrative one for Hardy even if he doesn’t make a courtroom push to get back on the field even sooner. Under the current suspension, Hardy will be eligible to return to the lineup for Dallas’s Week Five home game against the Patriots.