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With a disturbing cocktail of hubris, stupidity and sheer desperation, free agent Greg Hardy somehow managed to lower his already atrocious reputation in an exclusive interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Everything about the first of a two-part interview that aired Tuesday was utterly cringe-worthy, starting with Hardy—convicted in July 2014 of domestic assault by a North Carolina judge—who insisted he has never laid a hand on a woman. According to Hardy, that just isn’t something that happens in the South. When Schefter asked about the disturbing images obtained by Deadspin showing severe bruises on his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder’s body, Hardy blamed Photoshop: “Pictures are pictures and they can be made to look like whatever.” According to Hardy, his conviction by a judge was simply “a product of miscommunication.” Also according to Hardy, “there are situations with the situation that have nothing to do with the situation.” Excuse the lack of sophistication here, but WTF?
Despite Schefter’s claims on Tuesday’s Dan Patrick Show that he found Hardy to be “a changed kind of guy,” the interview could not have made Hardy look worse. Nothing he said was believable (aside from the fact that society views him as a leper). The look in his eyes did not convey a person who is remotely self-aware or, more importantly, seeking redemption. The lack of prep for this interview suggests that Hardy doesn’t have many people on his side seeking his best interest.
Really, just about the only thing we learned from this interview is that Schefter should probably stick to breaking news. Kudos to the NFL insider for “landing” Hardy, and his initial line of questions were appropriate, but follow-up questions were minimal following Hardy’s series of disturbing claims.
For example, Hardy insinuated several times that something happened with Holder that night (though again, he claims he never laid a hand on her), but Schefter never pressed Hardy on what actually happened. Nor did he challenge Hardy’s asinine notion that the pictures of Holder were somehow doctored. It’s not Schefter’s fault that Hardy’s camp chose him over any of ESPN’s numerous investigative journalists, but it certainly added to the strange optics.
It is widely believed—though not confirmed—that Hardy settled with Holder, thus explaining why she never showed for his appellate trial, resulting in the charges to be dropped. (In yet another example of Hardy lacking knowledge of the legal system and optics, Hardy proclaimed “he was proven innocent.”) I spoke with Sports Illustrated’s legal expert Michael McCann earlier today, who confirmed that settlements are typically rooted in two-way confidentiality. In considering why Hardy would partake in an interview, McCann suggested that there could be the possibility that Hardy paid a “premium” for the right to be able to tangentially discuss the case given that his career might hinge on such disclosures.
But after seeing the actual interview on ESPN and considering his unwieldy behavior while a member of the Dallas Cowboys—not to mention his history as an abuser of women—it’s hard to imagine Hardy abides by any set of rules, legal or not.
Hardy’s strategy was clearly to drum up interest after what has to have been silence from NFL teams—boy, did he fail. If teams weren’t calling before this interview they’re certainly not calling now. You know it’s bad for Hardy when he’s no longer morally qualified for Jerry Jones’s roster. For the sake of us all, hopefully Hardy makes a quiet exit out of the league and doesn’t hurt anyone else along the way.