NFL

Hardy Incident Garners Overreaction

on

Greg Hardy is a complicated man.

Everyone knows about Hardy’s alleged transgressions on May 13, 2014, the alleged assault on his former girlfriend. This has led to some calling for his job and his ability to make a living. That day is the reason why Hardy is under the microscope every time he steps into the public eye. Every word, step and gesture is under extreme scrutiny and Hardy has no room to do anything that could be even slightly deemed inappropriate.

This is because the media and society as a whole like to deal in absolutes. Everything is black and white, right or wrong, there is no room for the gray area with the lines between right and wrong get muddied up.

This landscape is what led to a media firestorm surrounding Hardy’s supposed tantrum on the Dallas Cowboys’ sideline during a loss to the New York Giants. In the now released video, you can see Hardy get into a verbal altercation with special teams’ coach Rich Bisaccia, in which Hardy smacks the special teams coordinator’s clipboard out of his hand, and you see him screaming on the sidelines as teammates, including Dez Bryant, try to calm him down.

To most, this was just another incident attributed to a terrible human being who can’t seem to control himself. The idea that a man who has been accused and publicly convicted of such a heinous crime should receive any benefit of the doubt is ludicrous to most.

However, this would ignore all the evidence that point to the fact that, for better or worse, Hardy is a leader among the Dallas defense and this is an aspect of leadership that happens all the time in football, whether it’s Tom Brady screaming at Bill O’Brien or Darren Woodson berating a defensive line coach. Football is an intense sport where the emotions rise and things get heated. If this was another player or a different team, this would not be a front page topic.

Now, some people may dispute the fact that Hardy is a leader among the Cowboys defense, but consider the things that have transpired before this incident. Hardy has been lauded by coaches and teammates alike for being one of the hardest workers among the team. The intensity that Hardy has brought to practice is infectious and makes everyone step up their game. It’s not dissimilar to what Dez Bryant brings to the Cowboys, who was wrongfully criticized for a sideline rant last season.

Also, consider the fact that Hardy isn’t afraid to call out teammates that he feels aren’t working as hard as they could be like he did to former Cowboys defensive tackle Davon Coleman during offseason workouts. If that’s isn’t an act of leadership, nothing is.

Furthermore, Hardy has demonstrated that he is willing to go the extra mile for his teammates. For example, when DeAngelo Williams’ mother died, not a single one of his teammates showed up for the funeral, except for Greg Hardy. He proved that he was a great teammate right then and there.

It may difficult to come to grips with the fact that a man with the past of Hardy could exhibit any redeeming qualities as a human being. This is why so many were upset when Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones stated that he would love to extend Hardy’s contract with the Cowboys. People point to the fact that it is sending the wrong message and giving a contract extension to a worthless human being like Hardy is indefensible.

Nevertheless, these people are ignorant to the fact that Hardy is a complex human being. In fact, it can be stated that Jones has likely had several conversations with Hardy and has found him to have more than a few redeeming qualities as a human being, which makes him comfortable to remain with the Cowboys. Make no mistake, Jones is not afraid to get rid of a player who could be cancerous in the locker room, just as he did with star receiver Terrell Owens.

Ultimately, none of this would matter at all if Hardy wasn’t an amazing football player who is among the best at his position. Could a player of lesser caliber get away with what Hardy pulled last Sunday? No, but like in any workplace, there are different rules for different people of different caliber and leadership statuses. The passion that Hardy showed is something that should be harnessed and not shunned.

The overreaction to Hardy’s antics will not stop for the foreseeable future, but if you asked his teammates in the locker room whether they want Hardy a part of their team. They would overwhelmingly want him to be on their side.

Greg Hardy is a complicated human being and a damn good football player, not a monster, but that doesn’t matter to those of us on the outside, but it makes all the difference to those in the locker room.

 


About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and DraftBreakdown.com