It was a tone-deaf interview that was met with worse from the Cowboys, with owner Jerry Jones defending him. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pleaded ignorance of the comments Wednesday and then, on Saturday, a rap video Hardy made during his suspension surfaced. The video, which features strippers and guns, was of particularly poor taste given that his domestic incident allegedly involved guns and threatening an ex-girlfriend. (TMZ has the video, which also has explicit language, here.)
Finally, the NFL spoke up.
“I couldn’t disagree more with Greg Hardy’s comments, and they do not reflect the values of the league,” Anna Isaacson, the NFL’s first vice president of social responsibility, told NFL.com. “We are working hard to bring attention to the positive role models many other players represent and also to continue our education with all members of the NFL family.”
Be that as it may, Hardy will start Sunday against the New England Patriots…and Brady.
“I am disappointed with them,” Isaacson said of Hardy’s comments. “We spend a lot of time at the NFL educating our players on domestic violence and sexual assault. That’s what we control here, we control education. We control training, we control all the league does from a public perspective and public service, working with non-profit organizations. We can control that. So that everyone in the NFL family has the services and resources that they need if they need help.”
ESPN’s Ed Werder reports that the Cowboys “had no contact with the league office regarding the … Hardy video [and] ill-advised comments.” In fact, the “only internal conversation,” Werder says, was with Coach Jason Garrett.
Jones’s initial reaction at the NFL owners’ fall meeting last week was, “Oh, my goodness.” Perhaps he should have stopped there, but he didn’t. He went on to sound like an enabler.
“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.”
As for “guns blazing,” Jones added: “Well, you’re not allowed to have guns on the football field. We all know that’s just a way of expressing yourself. I hope his guns are a-blazin’.”
On Sunday, Charles Johnson, a friend and former teammate of Hardy’s in Carolina, tried to explain his friend to Hannah Storm in an ESPN interview.
“This is just the way he talks.”
Soon, we’ll see how he plays.