(Chuck Burton/AP)

The Dallas Cowboys’ decision to sign defensive end Greg Hardy continues to face harsh criticism. The former Carolina Panthers player, who was convicted in a bench trial last year after being accused of assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend, inspired streams of impassioned tweets  and speeches from people wondering what this means about the NFL’s so-called zero-tolerance stance on domestic violence. Now, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is voicing his opinion on the matter, calling his hometown team’s decision “a shot in the gut.”

“I’ll tell you I’m a biased person here. I’m a big Cowboys fan. I love them to death and want them to beat the Eagles every time they play, but at some point, being a sports fan gets trumped by being a father, husband and wanting to do what’s right for women,” he said in a video posted by The Dallas Morning News. “This is not a good thing.”

Rawlings’s words should not be taken lightly. He’s a personal friend of owner Jerry Jones, who defended the team’s decision to sign Hardy. Hardy’s criminal charges were dropped in February after the alleged victim failed to show up to testify in court, but he remains ineligible to play until he is taken off the commissioner’s exempt list.

“I immediately called the Cowboys,” Rawlings said upon learning of Hardy’s signing. “I wanted to hear there sides.”

After he hung up the phone, he says, he still didn’t agree.

“I’m still gonna root for the Cowboys,” he said.

As for Hardy, he hopes for the best.

“I hope he will be in 10 years a person we look back and say he changed a lot of young kids’ lives because he dealt with this issue and he talked about it and he owned up to this issue,” Rawlings said, before a reporter followed up by asking, “Do you think he will?”

“I don’t know,” Rawlings said.