A Wednesday night gala to honor Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson probably didn’t go the way its honoree had planned.

Firstly, one of the dinner’s most high-profile guests, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, didn’t show up after a damaging new report came out alleging the NFL had received a copy of the Ray Rice tape that shows the ex-Raven punching his wife in the face.

Secondly, instead of just happily accepting the “Echo Award Against Indifference” from the Echo Foundation, an educational organization, Richardson felt compelled to address domestic violence, a subject that’s not only damaging Goodell’s reputation, but the entire NFL’s, as well, and Richardson personally.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding the Rice case and whether the NFL was privy to the infamous video, Richardson and the Panthers are dealing with their own drama in Greg Hardy, an active-roster player who was convicted of domestic violence over the summer. Neither the NFL nor the Panthers have penalized Hardy in any way, which has inspired much criticism. Richardson attempted to address that situation for the first time publicly during his acceptance speech and it brought him to tears. He said (via ESPN):

“Standing before you tonight, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge an issue weighing heavily on our sport and our society. When it comes to domestic violence, my stance is not one of indifference. I stand firmly against domestic violence, plain and simple.
“To those who would suggest that we’ve been too slow to act, I ask that you consider not to be too quick to judge. Over the course of our 20 years, we have worked extremely hard to build an organization of integrity … I will work hard to continue to earn your trust.”

While heartfelt, Richardson’s words seemed empty to many, as that very day Hardy was excused from practice to meet with his lawyers about his appeal to the conviction that says he assaulted his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder in an incident that alleges choking her, pulling her hair and slamming her arm in a toilet seat. Hardy’s next step is a jury trial.

In the meantime, however, Hardy remains on the roster to play on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, just as he played in the Panthers’ season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it seems not matter how emotional Richardson gets over the matter, some fans won’t be happy until Hardy is off the squad.