By Ashley Scoby
Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy made waves, again, Wednesday when he changed his Twitter bio to “innocent until proven guilty.”
Hardy was found guilty of assault after his ex-girlfriend accused him of beating and choking her, then throwing her onto a futon covered in assault rifles. Hardy appealed for a jury trial, and the charges were dropped after his accuser would not testify.
He missed most of last season while on Roger Goodell’s “exempt” list, then the first four games of this year. Hardy’s original 10-game suspension was decreased to four, thanks to the Players’ Association, who took up Hardy’s cause.
Now, Lions safety Glover Quin, who is Detroit’s rep for the Players Association, says that the PA’s efforts in relation to Hardy were all for the greater good.
“You’re not advocating for him to play,” he said. “You’re just advocating for the rules to be fair … If he go to court and he win in court, what do you want us to say?”
The idea of a zero-tolerance policy has been tossed around before, for NFL players who find themselves in cases having to do with domestic violence, child abuse or other charges of a violent nature.
The NFL has been a laughingstock recently after its mishandling of the Ray Rice case, where the former Ravens running back was originally suspended two games, until video surfaced of him punching his then-fiancé and dragging her out of an elevator. That suspension became “indefinite” and he didn’t play last season.
But a zero-tolerance policy, Quin says, can lead to its own problems.
“I don’t think they (the NFL) would do that, because you have situations where people lie,” Quin said. “People make stuff up. What if somebody lied on somebody? ‘You know, well, there’s no tolerance in the NFL right now, you know what? I don’t like this guy, so I’m gonna whatever, and I’m gonna say that he’s abused me,’ and boom, guy’s out of the league.”
Quin was irritated that it took Deadspin’s release of photos for the Hardy situation to “blow up” again – “what do pictures have to do with it?” Quin said. However, the clamor against the defensive end has been boiling the longer Hardy fails to show remorse.
During his first comments to the media after returning to the field this season, Hardy never apologized for the situation, and kept saying he was most grateful for the opportunity to play football. He also said he would return “guns blazing,” especially awkward given the accusation that he had thrown his then-girlfriend onto a collection of firearms.
Whether or not Hardy has shown any remorse is of little consequence to the Players Association, who, Quin said, is just advocating for fair policies.
“The P.A. is the union and our job is to protect the rights of players,” Quin said. “So, no, we don’t condone domestic violence. But within the disciplinary phases, if the league does something wrong in the CBA, it’s our job as players as a union to at least protect his rights.”