Suspending of reality: NFL can't seem to get suspension rules right

07/13/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak

The collective groan surrounding the NFL over the weekend was the domestic violence suspension of Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy being reduced by an arbitrator from 10 games to 4 games.
If you're not familiar with the story here it is.  While a member of the Carolina Panthers, Hardy was arrested last May and later found guilty by a judge in North Carolina of domestic violence for assaulting and threatening to kill his then girlfriend.  He was put on the commissioners exempt list last season after the barrage of domestic violence cases involving NFL players hit a boiling point following the video of Ray Rice knocking his fiancée out in an elevator.  Hardy missed 15 games last season, but was still paid.  After he signed with Dallas in the offseason, the NFL announced he would be suspended for the first 10 games of the 2015 season for violating the league's Personal Conduct Policy. 
But even though he was convicted by a judge, Hardy appealed and when the case went to jury, his ex girlfriend didn't show up for his trial.  Thus the charges against Hardy were dismissed.  According to the district attorney in the case, she refused to work with prosecutors but did reach a civil suit agreement with Hardy.  I believe that you are innocent until proven guilty.  But Hardy was found guilty, then "proven" innocent in this case.  Settling a civil suit with the woman he assaulted seems to say that Hardy may have paid her a nice sum of money so the court case against him would be dropped.

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But before the angry mob with hunts down NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the blame here doesn't lie with him.  Goodell handed down the 10 game suspension.  Arbitrator Harold Henderson is the one who determined the length of the suspension was too long, because last season it was determined the baseline for discipline in domestic or sexual assault cases was a  6 game suspension.  There is talk now that Hardy will appeal again in an attempt to have the suspension reduced to 2 games since that was what Ray Rice was originally given at the time the Hardy was originally arrested.
According to the NFL's investigation into the matter, Hardy used physical force in 4 different instances against his then girlfriend.  He pushed her into a bathtub.  Pushed her on to a bed tat had at least 4 guns on it.  Shoved her against a wall.  And placed his hands around the woman's neck with enough force to leave visible marks on her. 
This whole thing stinks, period.  Greg Hardy should be in jail, and if he was any regular citizen he would be.  But because of the civil suit being settled, the jury trial never happened and the charges were dismissed.  That stinks, no that reeks.  But you know what stinks the most?  The reaction of some NFL fans in Dallas.  Opinion among some Cowboys fans seems to be that Hardy should be forgiven and that 4 games is still too much.  That those 4 games on top of the 15 Hardy missed last year comes to a 19 game suspension.  Hardy wasn't suspended last year for 15 games.  He was still PAID even though he didn't play.  He should have had to sit out the 10 games he was originally given and be on his last strike, so that if he was ever involved in anything related to domestic violence again, he was given a lifetime ban.  The fact he may be able to appeal this suspension down to 2 games is a joke and a slap in the face of everything the NFL tried to do following the Ray Rice debacle last year.  The fact Hardy feels he is in the right and that his agent Drew Rosenhaus and the NFLPA support him is just garbage and all of those parties should be ashamed of themselves. 

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