NFLPA defends its defense of Greg Hardy

AP

In the two weeks since photos were leaked from the Greg Hardy criminal case, Hardy, the Cowboys, the NFL, and the NFL Players Association have received plenty of criticism. The NFLPA recently fired back, defending its defense of Hardy.

In an op-ed published by USA Today, NFLPA spokesman George Atallah responds to a pair of items from Christine Brennan regarding the treatment of Hardy.

“Christine Brennan’s two recent columns on Greg Hardy can be summed up in a few unimaginative simple phrases: ‘Greg Hardy, bad; Union, bad; Dallas Cowboys, bad,'” Atallah writes. “What I find to be even more intellectually dishonest is the expression of such opinions with a lack of fundamental understanding of the role of a union in these situations. I will explain it in simple terms: The NFL Players Association is a labor union. We have a Federal Law fair duty of representation to our members. Unions protect rights, not conduct. Collective Bargaining Agreements have to be enforced. We do not condone misconduct.”

Atallah is right. In the relationship between management and labor, the union operates as a defense lawyer, representing the rights of the employee regardless of how the union feels about what the employee did. The union has no more freedom to decline that obligation than does an attorney appointed by a court to represent an unsavory person who has done worse things.

I’ve sat across from a convicted killer in handcuffs and shackles, who was facing new charges from something he’d done in prison. I hated every moment of the experience. But in that job — and in plenty of others — you don’t get to choose to not do the work simply because you don’t like the person you’re working with or for.

“Every NFL player, past, present and future, should be glad that their union has the fortitude and resources to defend their rights and that not one of our members is on his own,” Atallah writes. “We have too many recent examples of what happens to a worker’s rights when management, in our case the NFL, thinks it has the ability to arbitrarily apply standards or discipline that violates the CBA. It is easy to take the position that what Greg Hardy did was wrong, but unlike Brennan, we have a responsibility to consider things beyond the moral outrage.”

Hardy could have chosen not to engage in inappropriate behavior. The Cowboys could have chosen not to employ him. But the union had no choice on the question of representing Hardy’s rights. As long as he remains in the NFL, the NFLPA has a mandatory obligation to protect his rights in the relationship with the league.

59 responses to “NFLPA defends its defense of Greg Hardy

  1. “Hardy could have chosen not to engage in inappropriate behavior.”

    A court of law says he didn’t.

  2. I agree with Florio, but in reality this post is the defense of the NFLPA’s defense of their defense of Greg Hardy.

    Dating myself here, but who remembers the Yardbirds song Over, Under, Sideways, Down?

    When will it end…

  3. .
    The union didn’t question the penalty as much as the process. Hardy was tried under both pre and post Rice rules. The union simply stated that the league cannot move the goalposts at the whim of public opinion.
    .

  4. There’s documents and rules and responsibilitys … but the person who defends a dog is a dog. This is just telling us of the life these people have chosen, it doesn’t absolve them of anything.

  5. A court of law says he didn’t.
    _____________________

    False. A bench judge found him GUILTY initially. Then Hardy pushed for a jury trial, paid off his victim during that time and she refused to cooperate. Those are the FACTS. Anyone that portrays Hardy as an innocent victim in all of this is a disgrace to humanity.

  6. So basically the union is obligated to defend the dregs of society simply because they are pay their union dues. Not exactly the best justification.

  7. I wonder how much we would hear about Greg Hardy if he was in Cleveland or tampa. This is annoying

  8. Translation:

    “It’s 2015. There is no practical use for unions anymore. Our only purpose is to defend scumbags who clearly deserve whatever punishment they got, but we’ll fight it anyway. Because we are lawyers, and we like money”

  9. NFLPA defends its defense of Greg Hardy
    ____________________

    There is no possible reason in the world to defend that scumbag.

  10. “chc4 says:
    Nov 20, 2015 6:41 PM
    A court of law says he didn’t.
    _____________________

    False. A bench judge found him GUILTY initially. Then Hardy pushed for a jury trial, paid off his victim during that time and she refused to cooperate. Those are the FACTS. Anyone that portrays Hardy as an innocent victim in all of this is a disgrace to humanity.”

    And anyone who portrays the woman as being some helpless little girl traumatized for life is a disgrace to humanity. Seems she was so traumatized by this guy that she was willing to take some cash instead of getting him behind bars where he probably belongs.

    I really don’t have much sympathy for victims who take a payout instead of looking to get justice and make sure their abuser doesn’t do it to someone else. From what I gather this would have been a slam dunk case for him to serve time had she not looked for her payday.

  11. Just wondering: suppose with Romo back, the Cowboys offense takes off, and with the other teams playing from behind, Hardy is able to just pin his ears back and go after the QB. Suppose in these last few games he manages to get 10 or 12 sacks. How many teams try to sign him in the offseason? That’s when you’ll find out how much of a pariah he really is.

  12. The NFLPA is right. That is their job. Whether you are morally opposed, is another story. Yawn….will the Cowboys stories stop when they are eliminated from the playoffs? Or will that just trigger more stories…

  13. Let’s see an NFL player marry a daughter of an NFLPA employee and then commit domestic violence against them.

    I’m sure they would be more than happy that said person is employed by an NFL franchise, and will be more than happy to send their lawyers to defend them.

    Yeah. Right.

    At some point, moral decency has to intercede. Otherwise, why have a Constitution and laws in the first place? No holds barred, anything goes.

  14. Unions are good places for guys like Hardy to hide. Pay your dues and you’re automatically part of a ‘brotherhood’ no matter how much of a scumbag you are.

  15. Typical lawyer speak where it concerns a client in good standing. Standing determined by client’s ability to pony up for services, in this case NFLPA Union dues

  16. Now George Atallah can explain what is just about Hardy’s suspension being reduced from ten games to four. This oughta be good.

  17. Every time a court appoints an attorney to defend someone accused of a crime, us taxpayers are paying for that. So, I don’t understand all this “unions are bad” talk. In fact if you are facing a 2 week suspension without pay from your job and your union negotiates it down to 1 week you would be grateful. I know lots of people who didn’t have union representation at their jobs who were laid off or fired at the whim of a supervisor or boss who simply didn’t like them.

  18. I spent a long time in the military countering terrorists, doing all I could to keep them from being successful, hoping they’d never make it to courtroom where some twisted lawyer was concerned about his “rights” when everyone knew the guy murdered a bunch of people. I get it about rights, and lawyers. But there is no honor in saying your doing your job if you defend a scumbag like Hardy. Sorry, you can’t tell me “it’s my job” when you argue to put creeps back out onto the street.

  19. fatsolio says:
    Nov 20, 2015 6:53 PM
    And there’s our daily Greg Hardy post. Come on Florio and PFT.

    LET
    IT
    GO

    —-

    Tell that to the victim, who’s going to be dealing with emotional scars for the rest of her life.

  20. “Is the NFLPA still worried for Aaron Hernandez’s workers rights? He was a union brother at one time, right?”

    I’m no lawyer, but I think the NFLPA is an A (Association) that only represents P’s (Players) who are currently in the NFL (National Football League).

    Don’t quote me on that, though.

  21. After the Tom Brady debacle you’d think some fans would be better educated with regards to penalities in the NFL. The NFL can’t supersede their own laws and or agreements (CBA) to punish players bc all the sudden the PC police are outraged after seeing photos. Every article about Hardy until those pictures was filled with people making excuses for his behavior and actions and lack of convictions. Did NOT matter one single bit that they were wrong about him. I’ve said all along the beating actually happened. Just bc he for off doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, same as deflating the footballs. Being “not guilty” doesn’t mean something didn’t happen simply means they can’t be convicted of it. Anyone with a good attorney knows this.

    People stop complaining and blaming Goodell, he tried to exercise his power and all of you shat your pants now in these circumstances he cannot do anything about it bc you fans would have claimed it wasn’t fair.

    Problem lies with the blanket coverage of wording in the CBA. Not all instances are the same so they should be treated as such however they also can’t write open ended punishments even if it’s more likely to result in punishments that are equal to the infractions.

    The NFL is in a NO win position especially Goodell and I don’t like him either but at least think for myself, so for the love of football please stop complaining about fairness. What Hardy did was 1,000,000 times worse than Ray Rice. He threatened to kill her after beating her. Different than throwing a punch at your wife. Also he used his paycheck he got from being suspended to pay her off. So in reality he’s probably the dumbest lucky guy we’ve ever seen. He beat a woman so bad the team suspended him, they couldn’t go after pay so he got weekly million dollar checks and paid his attorney and the victim and still ended up on top and got a new contract..

    Ridiculous every way you turn it.

  22. And anyone who portrays the woman as being some helpless little girl traumatized for life is a disgrace to humanity. Seems she was so traumatized by this guy that she was willing to take some cash instead of getting him behind bars where he probably belongs.

    I really don’t have much sympathy for victims who take a payout instead of looking to get justice and make sure their abuser doesn’t do it to someone else. From what I gather this would have been a slam dunk case for him to serve time had she not looked for her payday.
    ________________________________

    So you fell empathy for him because his victim is a money chasing ho? Doesn’t excuse his behavior. You just really just need to stop. Or maybe you are Greg Hardy.

  23. I have no doubt that the NFL in general has swept less offenses and worse offenses under the rug. The only reason they are getting the backlash is because of social media now. I am a Cowboys fan. I don’t approve of what Hardy has done by any means. If he was let go by the team today I would not have a problem with it. I do believe in giving people a second chance. He does not seem, in my opinion to want to better himself by his present actions. Cowboy fans will not care if he is on the field next year if he has 15 sacks. We have our team to worry about. Not an individual.

  24. oh look another story on PFT about Greg Hardy…..I was wondering when they were going to post another one…I hadn’t seen one on here in a few hours….

  25. The goofy law and lawyers are how Hardy was not kept in jail to start with. The fact a guy can do this and walk out after being found guilty to start with gives me ZERO confidence in the legal system. So frankly, do you as a victim trust a jacked up system that will let this guy go free again eventually, and have him ticked off and come after you…or do you settle yourself so that the attacker hopefully leaves you alone now? You can call her money chasing, but there was no guarantee he’d ever be in for long. Then with asinine statements from lawyers saying “hey, we’re just defending the dirtbags rights” heck yeah…screw all you guys!

  26. It is an unfortunate and distasteful fact that the NFLPA had no choice. Had they not honored their obligation to defend Hardy he would have hired his own defense and still won then the scumbag would have sued the NFLPA halfway out of existence and won that too. From the moment Nicole Holder took the cash the rest was just dominoes falling into their inevitable place. It sucks but there it is.

  27. De Smith sets the tone. Health & Safety don’t matter but wife beaters get a pass on process.

    Smith probably feels Hardy owes him one and can count on him to strong arm future candidates in the next rigged election.

  28. fatsolio says:
    Nov 20, 2015 6:58 PM
    “chc4 says:
    Nov 20, 2015 6:41 PM
    A court of law says he didn’t.
    _____________________

    False. A bench judge found him GUILTY initially. Then Hardy pushed for a jury trial, paid off his victim during that time and she refused to cooperate. Those are the FACTS. Anyone that portrays Hardy as an innocent victim in all of this is a disgrace to humanity.”

    And anyone who portrays the woman as being some helpless little girl traumatized for life is a disgrace to humanity. Seems she was so traumatized by this guy that she was willing to take some cash instead of getting him behind bars where he probably belongs.

    I really don’t have much sympathy for victims who take a payout instead of looking to get justice and make sure their abuser doesn’t do it to someone else. From what I gather this would have been a slam dunk case for him to serve time had she not looked for her payday.
    ——————————————-
    Seriously, just stop. Domestic violence is a misdemeanor offense. If she pressed charges and didn’t get paid off, chances are he would have got no jail time, possible community service and probation. The league would have fined and suspended him, and he’d be back on an NFL roster in a years time at worst. If some really big guy pounded you drunk one night and offered you 5 million to keep quiet, would you really not accept it? Press charges instead? What will the public think of you every time someone hears your name? For a misdemeanor charge? I’d take the money. In the grand scheme of things, the money will do you more good than the petty charges he’d face. Also assuming she would even win her case. He had the money for the best defense lawyers. He already got 13.5 million from the panthers in a signing bonus. Post Ray Rice, who knows, she may have stuck with it knowing she’d ruin his career. Before Rice, many players got away with a lot worse.

  29. I don’t know who Christine Brennan is but it’s frightening that a “journalist”doesn’t understand the meaning of collective bargaining and the part Unions play in that process.

  30. We have a Federal Law fair duty of representation to our members. Unions protect rights, not conduct. Collective Bargaining Agreements have to be enforced. We do not condone misconduct.”
    ***********************
    Remove him as a member for his misconduct. Most every union has that ability. They did not have to support him.

    Their actions are condoning his misconduct.

    NFLPA is a joke.

  31. Huh, my kid is forced to pay 5% of his part time wages for a major drug store change to a union. I’d like to see how fast they come running if he had to call them for anything.

    not really buying the whole “have to” argument.

  32. There’s some confusion caused by the NFPLA’s incorrect title. Strictly speaking, a players’ Association wouldn’t have to represent Hardy but a player’s Union does. There is a clear legal (and tax-coded*) difference between an Association (essentially a common interest group) and a Union (legally involved in employee rights and discipline procedure, pay and collective bargaining etc), and the NFLPA wasn’t formally a union between 1989-93, but for much of it’s history it’s been a union rather than a mere association and is thus mistitled. They may like to keep their old name but it causes confusion in some circles not deeply into NFL/legal matters.

    (* associations tax code is 501c6, unions is 501c5).

  33. The more interesting situation would have arisen if IK Enemkpali had filed a grievance over his suspension for punching Geno Smith. To whom would the NFLPA have owed its primary duty: the union member who threw the punch or the union member who caught the punch?

  34. chc4 says:
    Nov 20, 2015 6:43 PM

    So basically the union is obligated to defend the dregs of society simply because they are pay their union dues. Not exactly the best justification.
    __________________________________

    Huge over simplification. The reality is that every member of the union is afforded the same right to same due process as every other member.

    This concept is also a basic cornerstone of our legal system.

  35. oeconnorjr says:
    Nov 21, 2015 7:41 AM
    The more interesting situation would have arisen if IK Enemkpali had filed a grievance over his suspension for punching Geno Smith. To whom would the NFLPA have owed its primary duty: the union member who threw the punch or the union member who caught the punch?

    The union would have to represent the member who filed the grievance even though in this case two union members were involved. The union in this case would represent its member who was punished by management for the incident. In the proceedings Smith would be testifying for management against his union.

  36. The class act players of the NFL should be outraged by this headline. Because od players as this is why so many fans have slowly moved away from the NFL.

  37. for all you Greg Hardy haters maybe there is one little detail your forgetting. Everyone is crying about the fact he paid her off and she declined to testify him in the jury trial. Nothing stopped her from testifying against him and then suing him. In fact most law suits are only strengthened by a person found guilty in a criminal trial. not that I am condoning his actions but everyone needs to stop thinking and acting like she was some poor wife sitting at home that got a black eye because she didn’t have her man’s dinner ready when he came home. She was a star , who cheated on him with Nelly. They had been partying all day and they got into a fight…over her cheating on him with Nelly. The day she was supposed to testify against him, she wasn’t receiving counseling, or in a battered womans shelter…she was skiing in a ski resort somewhere…..he is stupid for becoming involved with her and its cost him millions and millions of dollars. LETS MOVE ON.

  38. You can see why the Panthers made no effort to keep him, potentially another Rae Carruth. The Cowgirls don’t care as long as he can rush the QB(opposing one they hope!).

  39. Basically the NFLPA has women beaters on their staff and needed to defend Hardy to justify their position. It’s sad that unions (which can be a good thing) spend most of their time protecting the lazy and dirtbags, because very seldom does a good employee need representation other then during contract negotiations.

  40. I am a Cowboys fan. I don’t approve of what Hardy has done by any means.

    ===========================

    People keep saying this, but he has done nothing in the eyes of the law. The original indictment verdict was overturned and all charges were dismissed. His record has been expunged.

    The courts have determined that nothing happened. That should be enough for people in the USA. We’re not the Soviet Union where you could be dealt with because someone thought you did something. We have due process. It’s done.

  41. But there is no honor in saying your doing your job if you defend a scumbag like Hardy.
    ——————————

    Did you work hard at convicting people who had no evidence of their guilt? Two shots at him. Charges dismissed. Record expunged.

    I hope for your sake you are never wrongly accused of something. I suppose you’d be OK with everyone assuming your guilt even if the charges were dismissed. You know, losing your job, even if the charges were dismissed. You’d be OK with that because you were ACCUSED of a crime.

  42. There is no possible reason in the world to defend that scumbag.
    —————————

    Except he was found innocent by a court of law.

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