Jerry Jones heard Greg Hardy’s comments about Gisele Bundchen being hot and playing his first game with the Dallas Cowboys with “guns blazin'” and, like the NFL, he is looking the other way.
Jones was at first a little nonplussed when told about comments by Hardy, who will play in his first NFL game since being suspended for a domestic incident allegedly involving the assault of an ex-girlfriend and a bed covered with firearms. Hardy, coming off a four-game suspension by the league over the matter, praised the supermodel wife of quarterback Tom Brady in a tone-deaf way, given his past.
“I love seeing Tom Brady,” Hardy said. “He’s cool as crap. Have you seen his wife? I hope she comes to the game. I hope her sister comes to the game, all her friends come to the game.”
Hardy didn’t stop there. Told by a reporter that other quarterbacks like Blake Bortles are married to attractive women (such is the state of sports journalism these days), Hardy added: “Is she [attractive]? This kind of information is important. That’s how I select my Pro Bowls.”
Jones’s initial reaction at the NFL owners’ fall meeting was “Oh my goodness.” Perhaps he should have stopped there, but he didn’t.
“When I saw him marry [Bundchen], Tom went up in my eyes 100 percent,” Jones said (via SI.com). “She’s very, very attractive and it shows what an outstanding individual Tom is.”
Oh, brother. Brady, in a conference call, was asked if Hardy’s remarks bothered him.
“No, I’m just getting ready to play, man. I’ve got to focus on my job. He’s a great player. We’ve got to … It takes a lot of different things to handle a guy like that. But he’s been a great player since he’s been in the league, so we’re going to have to prepare for him and be ready for all different types of moves that he’s got,” Brady said. “But they’ve got a good D-line anyway. They count on getting pressure from their front four getting to the quarterback, so I don’t really care about his personal feelings.”
(You know what means. He’s going to throw for 7 trillion yards and 84 touchdowns Sunday.)
Hardy’s remarks about guns were surprising, too.
“I hope I come out guns blazin’. I’m full of excitement and full of juice,” Hardy said. “I’m ready to go. I have what they call fresh legs. I’m really excited to get out there on that grass or turf and see what they can do.”
Jones paused for a moment when asked about that, then went the head-in-the-sand route.
“Well, you’re not allowed to have guns on the football field,” Jones said. “We all know that’s just a way of expressing yourself. I hope his guns are a-blazin’.”
Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett circled the wagons in his defense of Hardy.
“Typically we try to keep things in house here with the Cowboys. Greg is excited to be playing. Sometimes things come out of your mouth when you are excited,” he said. “I think he has an understanding that it is more important to define yourself as a player more than anything else. I think he will learn from those comments and the reaction to them. I don’t think it was anything – there was no bad intent by any means. I think he is just excited to get back to playing football.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who struggled mightily and failed to get the issue of domestic violence right, got this wrong, too — perhaps because this is the man who unsuccessfully tried to suspend Brady for DeflateGate the same number of games as Hardy (whose suspension was reduced to four games).
“I’m not aware of the comments,” Goodell said at a press conference, showing that he is either blase about the matter or takes the counsel of no one at NFL headquarters. “So I can’t respond to the comments because I haven’t seen them. But we have high standards in the NFL and we expect people to follow them. The vast majority of NFL players are outstanding young men. They do great things in the community. I’m proud of what they do.”
The reaction nationally was one of incredulity. Tony Kornheiser, on “Pardon the Interruption,” called for Hardy to be immediately suspended again. Sharon Grigsby of the Dallas Morning News wrote: “Question for Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett: How do you like that Greg Hardy now? Sounds like the player you so magnanimously gave a second chance to is living down to his reputation.” USA Today’s Christine Brennan saw it reflecting badly on NFL leadership as well as Hardy.
If there’s one man in professional sports who should be contrite, it’s Hardy. Clearly, he doesn’t have it in him. This unrepentant and immature behavior by Hardy in his debut with the Dallas media reflects terribly not only on him, but also on the Cowboys, the NFLPA, the NFL and everyone else who is supposed to be monitoring and guiding Hardy. Is there no one who is counseling him? Little over a year since the Rice elevator video, what kind of leadership is this?
Well, it’s the kind that is solely focused on the product on the field and conveniently forgets everything that happened early in the 2014 season.