After Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy commemorated the lifting of his suspension with awkward remarks about Tom Brady’s wife and the unfortunate use of the phrase “guns blazin’,” different people had different reactions.
Cowboys fans and some of the media covering the team proclaimed that it was no big deal. Owner Jerry Jones downplayed the remarks in classic Jerry Jones style, reminding the world that Hardy won’t actually be taking guns onto the field, equating Brady’s value as a human with the attractiveness of his wife, and making an always-timely Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton reference.
Others weren’t happy with the comments. Once coach Jason Garrett made it clear that he’s in the group that finds the statements unfortunate, the issue seemed to be settled.
Through it all, the NFL said nothing. As of Sunday morning, the NFL has broken its silence, via comments from a league executive to the league-owned website.
“I couldn’t disagree more with Greg Hardy’s comments, and they do not reflect the values of the league,” NFL V.P. of social responsibility Anna Isaacson said. “We are working hard to bring attention to the positive role models many other players represent and also to continue our education with all members of the NFL family. . . .
“We spend a lot of time at the NFL educating our players on domestic violence and sexual assault. That’s what we control here, we control education. We control training, we control all the league does from a public perspective and public service, working with non-profit organizations. We can control that. So that everyone in the NFL family has the services and resources that they need if they need help.”
When it comes to properly expressing himself, Hardy clearly needed help on Tuesday. He got none from his team or from the league. While Hardy is ultimately responsible for his words and deeds, the team has a strong incentive to protect him from embarrassing himself or the organization.
Then again, maybe the team did help him — and maybe what he said Tuesday would have been even worse without the assistance.
Regardless, Hardy’s comments don’t constitute grounds for discipline. But it’s safe to say the do-what-it-wants league office will indeed pounce on Hardy if given another legitimate chance to do so.