Less than two years ago, NFL defensive end Greg Hardy allegedly brutally assaulted his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder, throwing her against a bathroom wall, dragging her by her hair through his apartment, and choking her while she lay on a couch replete with weapons. On Tuesday, ESPN aired an exclusive interview with Hardy, in which he tried to wipe his hands clean of ever physically assaulting Holder -- despite pictures suggesting otherwise.
The “cringeworthy” interview, conducted by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, has been chastised over the past 20-odd hours for being “somewhat sympathetic” to the -- reported -- domestic abuser and for attempting to “prop up” the man who -- supposedly -- caused these bruises on the body of someone he once claimed to care about. The cries and censures only became louder when Schefter called Hardy “a changed kind of guy” on the Dan Patrick Show Tuesday, despite the fact that Hardy still will not hold himself accountable for the stomach-churning acts he’s -- allegedly -- committed.
The outcry was predictable, as more and more people understand the oft-harmful way we talk about domestic violence and its victims and survivors. But when co-host Michelle Beadle began to speak on ESPN’s SportsNation on Tuesday, no one expected one of the network’s own, well-known employees to damn its discussion with Hardy.
Beadle’s incisive, insightful comments on the interview should be quoted in full:
I feel dirty in that this guy has no job right now, and for some reason we’ve decided as a network that we’re going to give him the stage for his redemption tour as he basically goes out and tries to find some employment. I don’t understand why we’re doing that. If he wants to figure out a way to get his message out there -- which by the way, he hasn’t said he did anything wrong, so how a man is supposed to convince anybody he’s changed and yet not admit to actually doing anything? I have no idea. But why we’re giving him the forum to go out there and tell anybody that is where I’m a little bit confused.
Those on-air remarks were paired with this tweet:
That Beadle was willing to turn a constructively critical eye on the hand that feeds her is laudable. And she’s 100 percent on the money. We cannot keep promoting a status quo that allows half the equation in a he-said-she-said to grab the mantle and manipulate a platform as large as ESPN in the hope of spreading a message of contrition and change when no regret is evident, no remorse discernible.
This is not just ESPN’s issue. This is not just a sports issue. This is a societal, systemic issue. Good for Beadle for speaking out. And hopefully the fact that she did will effect some change for us all moving forward.