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Do We Enable Greg Hardy? NFL Unfiltered Week 9

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Domestic violence is not just a Greg Hardy problem, or an NFL problem; it is a world problem.  

And our collective ambivalence toward beating women, is the real reason Hardy still plays on Sundays.   

Recently, Deadspin shed more light on Hardy’s behavior that particular night and predictably, the hand-wringing and finger-pointing began. We again wondered why he still wears a uniform, never mind starting at defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys. We wondered who decided to drop the charges.  Photo: www.dallasnews.com

Surely, owner Jerry Jones and the rest of the Cowboys’ brass saw the photos of the bruises Hardy put on his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder. Naturally, they knew of the emotional damage he caused. And if they hadn’t, the group Jones pays to investigate such delicate matters, certainly had.  

Still, Hardy is on a roster because for many, the NFL teat from which we suckle (myself included) is far too satisfying to actually do anything about it.  

NBC’s Cris Collinsworth summed up the feeling most people have when it comes to this real world stuff.  “There’s a human element to this Greg Hardy story … but we’re just going to call the game!” he exclaimed before the start of the Eagles/Cowboys game. What else is he supposed to do, boycott Cowboys games until the team cuts Hardy? Quit his job because of the league’s blatant insensitivity?

The truth is, murder, rape, child molestation and domestic violence have always been a small part of the NFL landscape. Frankly, it is the cost of doing business.  And everyone, from the league office to the fans who love the game, willingly pay the toll.  

Unquestionably, Hardy is a scary dude. You wouldn’t want him dating your sister, and probably want to steer clear if he has to wait too long for his car at the valet. However, he is almost as good at terrorizing quarterbacks as he is terrorizing women.  Additionally, we’re not ready to spend Sunday doing something else because of a few dangerous scoundrels. That’s why he still works for the Cowboys.  

The fact guys like Hardy flourish is as much the nation’s fault as it is the NFL’s or the Cowboys’.  We’re the ones who look the other way when we know she is in danger.  We’re the ones who create an environment so incredibly unjust, many women accept the abuse in lieu of coming forward.  And we’re the ones who stand on ceremony, filled with righteous indignation … right up until kickoff!

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We must stop pretending the NFL is some beacon of hope, whose mission is to lead the country in righting all the world’s wrongs.  The fact is, the league takes its cue from us, not the other way around.  

To expect the tail to wag the dog with regards to domestic violence, is to expect a group of middle-aged men to thoughtfully fix a problem the nation has not.    

It is possible, but highly unlikely.

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Week 9

-One of the problems in hiring a head coach with a decidedly defensive background, is the fact too many see quarterbacks as only slightly more important than just another player. Call it the Mike Singletary theory. That’s why Atlanta’s Dan Quinn opted to kick a field goal, instead of going for the touchdown on 4th and goal from the 49ers’ 2-yard line. He had so much confidence in the concept of defense, he failed to use the most important, highest paid player on the field. Of course the Falcons lost. Why wouldn’t they?    

-Before Sunday, many called San Francisco’s Blaine Gabbert one of the worst quarterbacks in the history of the league. Yet, against the Falcons, he looked confident and at times even competent.  I’m convinced now more than ever all quarterbacks ought to begin their careers on the bench.  It’s too easy to ruin a guy by playing him immediately.  

-Maybe it’s me, but Hardy looks heavier than he did in Carolina. If he maintains his current diet, we won’t need to worry about him playing in the NFL anymore.  

-Ironically, the best draft picks in the Chip Kelly era are 3rd round defenders Bennie Logan and Jordan Hicks. Either Kelly knows more about evaluating defensive players than we think, or he is more apt to listen to others when it comes to defense.  

-Experts often claim a particular quarterback has the arm to “make all the throws.” Don’t let them fool you: Less than five guys in the league have that talent.  

-It is hard to come up with a reason Oakland’s Charles Woodson isn’t a first ballot Hall of Famer. But when it comes time to vote on it, some voter will.  

-In beating the San Diego Chargers Monday, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler showed America the kind of talent that keeps you in the NFL. It’s also the kind of talent that gets coaches fired.  

 

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area. He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention. His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

 

Contact Earl at emyersiii@gmail.com  and follow him on Twitter @EMyersIII

 

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Photo: www.dallasnews.com