Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys are what is wrong with America. The Greg Hardy situation is unprecedented territory even for Jerry Jones. It is symptomatic of how we collectively as a country have placed a higher value on winning and profit than on decency and morals. As a Cowboys fan, I have tolerated the unceremonious dumping of coaching icon Tom Landry and even watched in horror as Jerry Jones decided to employ Terrell Owens. The same Terrell Owens who desecrated the Dallas Cowboys star in the middle of Texas Stadium after scoring a touchdown for the San Francisco 49ers. The Greg Hardy situation however, is more than I can take and more than any fan with morals and a conscience should be forced to endure. Greg Hardy has been plagued by character issues most of his adult life. These issues surfaced again last Sunday in a game against the Giants. Faced with the erratic behavior of one of their best defensive players, the delusional Dallas Cowboys front office led by Jerry Jones and his son Stephen Jones want to extend Greg Hardy's contract. Rewarding players with exceptional ability for bad behavior. Makes sense, right?
Greg Hardy is an enormous football talent. That is largely why he stills exists in our society but he is as troubled as he is talented. Greg Hardy began his career with the Carolina Panthers who after Hardy initially received a 60-day jail sentence and 18 months of probation for attacking an ex-girlfriend, unceremoniously released Hardy. Attacking his girlfriend is an understatement. Nicole Holder, the ex-girlfriend testified that Hardy flung her from the bed, threw her in a bathtub, then tossed her on a futon covered with rifles. Hardy then grabbed Holder by the hair, going from room to room, finally putting his hands around her neck telling her he was going to kill her. Let me reiterate a few things. A futon COVERED WITH RIFLES, HIS HANDS AROUND HER NECK and saying I AM GOING TO KILL YOU. Character issues and mental stability have always been a concern for Greg Hardy and NFL teams. He was repeatedly asked at the NFL combine if he was bipolar. Not the typical question you ask a NFL prospect. Teams had good reason to worry. He was suspended at Ole Miss and it was his off-the-field makeup not his football ability that caused him to fall to the 175th pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
The NFL publicly displays their interest in female football fans through commercials, giving women their own clothing line and of course making October breast cancer awareness month across the league. The hypocrisy of the NFL is never more evident than it is in October, donating all of 8 percent of pink merchandise sales to the fight against breast cancer. That same hypocrisy is rearing its ugly head in another way this week. On the same day that the Cowboys and Jerry Jones are dealing with the Greg Hardy story, Roger Goodell and the league filed an appeal against the Tom Brady decision. Outwardly, the NFL seems more concerned with making Tom Brady pay for apparent under-inflated balls than Greg Hardy pay for his behavior on the sideline of the Cowboys game against the Giants. This shouldn't come as a huge surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the NFL the last couple of years. Initially, star running-back Ray Rice was suspended two games for knocking his then-fiancee out and dragging her from an elevator in Atlantic City. It was only after public outrage at such a lenient suspension that the NFL decided to suspend Ray Rice for the entire 2014 season. The Baltimore Ravens proceeded to cut Rice after the video of the incident was made public. Despite the Cowboys not resigning the NFL's leading rusher from a year ago, DeMarco Murray, they never considered Ray Rice. Why? Because the reward of an aging running back like Ray Rice doesn't justify the risk of signing a player with such a serious public image issue. Greg Hardy on the other hand is a different story. He is reaching the prime of his career and has the difficult to find talent of being an elite pass rusher.
Jerry Jones is the mouthpiece of the Dallas Cowboys and his views may not be the views of head coach Jason Garrett or other players on the team. I hope not because since the incident with Greg Hardy on Sunday, Jerry Jones has spoken about his prized free agent signing in glowing terms.
"He's, of course, one of the real leaders on this team and he earns it. He earns it with the respect from all of his teammates. That's the kind of thing that inspires. You watched him warm up out there and he was inspirational nothing but warming up. He was ready to play," said Jones after Sunday's game.
How can you characterize someone with the behavioral issues of Greg Hardy as a real leader of the team and inspirational? It is only when you value winning above all else that this kind of thinking would even begin to enter your thought process.
Possibly even more delusional than characterizing Greg Hardy as "inspiring" are the comments from Jones when talking about the decision to sign the controversial defensive lineman.
"The most comments I got on enabling was when we signed him. They said it looks like you're basically condoning domestic violence, which is not the case," said Jones.
By signing and keeping Greg Hardy on your team you may not be condoning it but you are promoting the poster child for domestic violence in the NFL and celebrating that if you have a unique talent that can win football games at the highest level, it is okay to allegedly throw women on top of guns, drag them by the hair and threaten to kill them.
Greg Hardy has been a distraction for the Cowboys for the two games he has been allowed to play this season. The first game against the Patriots he referenced Tom Brady's wife and the possibility of her sister showing up to the game. Really? You are just reinstated to the league after serving a four game suspension for domestic violence and one of the first things out of your mouth is about a Victoria's Secret model and her sister? This is proof Greg Hardy just doesn't get it.
Greg Hardy is proof Jerry Jones doesn't get it.
"His effort, his basic aggressiveness, which is an absolute must to play the game and play the position, has just absolutely been something if you have any knowledge or an appreciation for football, when he talks you listen," Jones said.
I have watched the Dallas Cowboys play football for nearly 40 years. Growing up in Texas, Dallas Cowboys football was a family event. Our world stopped during the football games. I never remember seeing anything on the sideline like I witnessed on Sunday from Greg Hardy. I don't ever recall having to tolerate off the field issues like those of Greg Hardy for on the field performance. I don't remember Randy White or Ed "Too Tall" Jones slamming a clipboard out of a coach's hand. The biggest stories back then were the jinx of the blue jerseys, Everson Walls signing with the Giants, Danny White or Gary Hogeboom at quarterback, and how would Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker get along in the same backfield? Now the question is can I let my son watch the Cowboys without having to worry about the sideline antics of Greg Hardy or even worse having him inspired by Greg Hardy. Jerry Jones, I do in fact have an appreciation for football. I am afraid that it is you who has lost appreciation for the game, all in the name of winning.