The pictures of Nicole Holder’s bruised body are hard to look at. Holder’s recollections of that May 2014 night are hard to read. And the frighteningly flippant comments NFL defensive end Greg Hardy has made about that “situation” are hard to swallow.
It’s been nearly two years since the evening in question, the night when a verbal spat between Hardy and ex-girlfriend Holder quickly became something more. On May 12, Hardy allegedly hurled the much smaller Holder against his shower wall, dragged her through his apartment by her hair, then proceeded to throw her onto a couch covered with assault weapons before putting his hands on her neck and beginning to choke her. And while Hardy was initially convicted of assaulting Holder in July 2014, the NFL veteran appealed the decision and Holder was a no-show at the subsequent February 2015 court date, leading the case to be dropped.
Thanks to an in-depth investigative Deadspin report, however, we now know some of the physical damage Holder suffered that night. But Hardy, to this day, has curtly and continually shrugged off true accountability for the incident -- a sickening abdication of guilt that reached what may be its apex in an exclusive interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter that is slated to air in full on Tuesday.
The portion of the interview released Monday is worth quoting at length:
Hardy: “I’ve never put my hand on any woman. In my whole entire life. No, Sir. That’s just not how we’re raised. As you can tell, like I said again, it’s the Bible Belt. It’s just something that’s -- I wouldn’t even say frowned upon, just something that’s nonexistent in most southern homes.”
Schefter: “You say you did nothing wrong, you’re innocent and yet the pictures of her that surfaced would seem to suggest a woman who had some type of physical contact. How do you explain that?”
Hardy: “I will stop you there and say that I didn’t say that I didn’t do anything wrong. That situation occurred and that situation was handled but … saying that I did nothing wrong is a stretch but saying I am innocent is correct. Yes, sir.”
Schefter: “Did you ever put your hands on her?”
Hardy: “No, sir … No, sir.”
In October 2015, the defensive end was criticized for casually using the phrase “guns blazin’” in light of the damning accusations about Hardy’s inclination toward violence. Now the calendar reads April 2016, and his absolute refusal to own up to his actions means that he still -- after all this time, after all the literal and proverbial trials of the past two years -- refuses to grow. The rejection of responsibility glimpsed in the Schefter interview indicates that he has not matured in the slightest, and is just the latest reminder that this is not a healthy man -- not a man we should watch and root for on the gridiron every Sunday.
As of right now, free agent Hardy remains unsigned. As of right now, flippant Hardy remains unrepentant. As of right now, this alleged domestic abuser still has a platform to spew whatever it is he is claiming today, while the images we saw of Nicole Holder and her black and blue bruises grow ever more faint in our collective memory.
If Hardy refuses to own up to and denounce his physical violence, we owe it to Holder to remind ourselves of the details he wants us to forget. Here are Holder’s images and perspective. Here is the sobering, sickening report that is just as hard to get through as it is important to read again.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.